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Title: Antigua and the Antiguans, Volume II (of 2) - A full account of the colony and its inhabitants from the - time of the Caribs to the present day
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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                       AND THE ANTIGUANS:

                       A FULL ACCOUNT OF
                  FROM THE TIME OF THE CARIBS
                      TO THE PRESENT DAY,
            Interspersed with Anecdotes and Legends.


                      FREE LABOUR SYSTEMS;

          “Sworn to no party, of no sect am I.”—Pope.

                        IN TWO VOLUMES.
                            VOL. II.


                       THE SECOND VOLUME.

                         CHAPTER XXIX.

  Caribs: Domestic state—Treatment of their women—Children—Their
  early tuition—Superstitious cruelties—Hatred of the Arrowawks—
  Female children—Occupation of the men—Canoes—Bows and arrows—
  Cottages—Cooking utensils—Native cloth—Food—Fishing—Decoy fish—
  Spirituous liquors—Personal appearance—Amusements—The Carib
  house—Extermination of the Caribs from Antigua—Remarks upon
  their history

                          CHAPTER XXX.

  Negroes: Their introduction into the New World—Bartholomew Las
  Casas—His intercessions in favour of the Indians—Cardinal
  Ximenes—Origin of the slave trade—Its adoption by the English
  government—Character of slavery—Mental degeneracy—Instances of
  superior faculties among the Negro race—Juan Parega—Phillis
  Wheatley—Ignatius Sancho—His letter to the Rev. L. Sterne—
  Slavery in its early days—Punishment of the negroes in 1736

                         CHAPTER XXXI.

  Negroes: Palliations, _but not excuses_, for former cruelties—A
  harsh planter—Crimes of slaves—The little negroes’ dinner-hour—
  A character—Negroes’ want of thought—Bartering their weekly
  provisions—Pilfering—The Rock Dungeon—A Tortolian slave-master—
  The murdered slave—Branding—Slave cargo—Remarks upon slavery—A
  good slave-master—A kind attorney—Negro gratitude

                         CHAPTER XXXII.

  Negroes: The assertion that negroes are careless of all
  domestic ties confuted by anecdotes—“Shadows” of negro
  character—Excuses for them—Conversion to Christianity—Belief of
  the Africans that after death they shall return to Africa—
  Instance of it—Africans and Creoles—Superstitions—Obeah

                        CHAPTER XXXIII.

  Negroes: Superstition—Trials by ordeal—Flower-fence—Bible and
  key—A way to recover stolen property—Charm to prevent a
  scolding tongue—Jumbies—A night’s adventure—The soldier’s last
  jump—Jumbies calls—Betsey, the nurse—The haunted house—A cure—
  The drowning boys—The murdered woman—The jumby’s revenge

                         CHAPTER XXXIV.

  Seeming paradoxes explained—Negro suspicion—Instances of it—
  Stealing—Its various characters—Leasing—The dead canaries—
  Broken promises—Idleness—Negro wages—Their present lot—

                         CHAPTER XXXV.

  Negroes: “Shadows” continued—The crime of murder—Instances of
  it—Hon. Sam. Martin—Giles Blizard—Adam Ogilvie

                         CHAPTER XXXVI.

  Negroes: The crime of poisoning—Instance of it—Murder of Mr.
  Brown—Love and jealousy—The end of unlawful love—Infanticide—
  Incendiarism—A late instance of it—Polygamy—Disregard of
  marriage vows

                        CHAPTER XXXVII.

  Negroes: A little change for the better—“Shadows nursed by
  night retire”—Respect to age—Filial affection—Generosity—Their
  kindness to the poorer class of whites—Cleanliness—the opposite
  vice—Behaviour at church—A black exhorter—Reading and writing—
  An anecdote

                        CHAPTER XXXVIII.

  Negroes: Their amusements—Natural ear for music—Singing—Dancing
  —Subscription routs—Christmas balls—The ball-room decorations—
  Ball dresses—Gentlemen’s appearance—Ladies’—Politeness—Supper,
  and the supper-table—The morning after a ball—Cards of
  invitation—The “good night.”

                         CHAPTER XXXIX.

  Negroes: Fondness for “Nancy stories”—Negro loquacity—Their
  signification of the word “cursing”—Markets—Confusion of
  tongues—Weddings—The drive to church—Wedding banquet—Blushing
  brides—Funerals—“Wake nights”—Funeral procession—Christening—
  High-sounding names

                          CHAPTER XL.

  Negroes: Further sentences upon “dress”—Sunday transformations—
  The black cook and his metamorphosis—Christmas waits—Negro
  houses—The mode of building upon estates—Town negro houses—
  Architecture—The mode of moving houses

                          CHAPTER XLI.

  Negroes: Occupations—Agricultural labourers—Black sailors—Their
  excessive gormandizing—The hungry captain’s disappointment—
  Black cooks—“Melted butter”—A receipt for a cookery book—The
  obtrusive fish—Grooms and “house boys”—An old planter’s opinion
  —Concluding remarks

                         CHAPTER XLII.

  Negroes: Employment of the women—Washing—A scene at the pond—
  Conversations—The sea-side—“Water frolic”—Hucksters—“Damaged
  flour”—Female porters—Masculine appearance of some of the
  females—Indelicacy—Their mode of carrying burdens

                         CHAPTER XLIII.

  Negroes: Exterior appearance—Difference of expression—White
  negroes (Albinos)—Description of one—Black and white negroes—
  Negroes’ “bulls and blunders”—Exchange is no robbery, or the
  lost specimens—Negro politeness—Negro tongue—Inebriation—
  Concluding remarks

                         CHAPTER XLIV.

  Remarks upon free system—State of affairs before emancipation—
  Trials and casualties—Improved price of land—Sugar estate
  during slavery—Benefits of emancipation in the moral state of
  the colony—Benefits arising to the planter—Pretended illness
  among the negroes—Propositions in their favour—Decrease of
  crime—Hopes indulged—“The first of August.”

                          CHAPTER XLV.

  A chapter on colour—Gradual removes from the negroes—Middle
  classes—Personal appearance—Devotions at their mirrors—Style of
  dress—Chapel belles—Passion for dress—Home and home scenes—The
  young men—Extreme officiousness—Higher classes of colour—
  Coloured Hebes—The chapel tea-party—Gastronomy and speeches—
  Wesleyan bazaar, and lunch-table—Gastronomic relics

                         CHAPTER XLVI.

  Prejudice—Its former and present character—An act of resentment
  —The “Prejudice Bell”—Exclusion of persons of colour from
  offices of trust and polished society—The dawn of better days—
  The assertions of some authors contradicted—Domestic character
  of the coloured gentry—Hospitality—A day at a coloured
  gentleman’s country-house—Dwellings—Marriages—Great suppression
  of illicit connexions within these last few years—Funerals—A
  scene of riot in former days—Provincialisms

                         CHAPTER XLVII.

  Grades among the _pure in blood_—Aristocrats—The tribe _fungi_—
  An overseer’s duty—Managers and attorneys—Pickings and
  gleanings—Managers’ wives and managing ladies—Aristocratic
  shops—“My daughters”—Education—“Field days” of the militia—The
  Antiguan aide-de-camp

                        CHAPTER XLVIII.

  The pure in blood—Aristocrats of the higher order—Law, physic,
  and divinity—Merchants and planters—Proprietors’ dwellings—A
  day at a country-seat—Gastronomy—Beef—“Mary Swift”—Mutton—Pork—
  Turtle and City aldermen—Christmas

                         CHAPTER XLIX.

  The pure in blood—Places of amusement—The theatre—“Romeo
  Coates”—Jugglers and rope-dancers—Maroon parties—Shooting
  season—The Creole beauties—Dress—“The lords of the creation”—
  Fops and foppery—Business hours—Scene at the Antigua
  post-office—Auction sales—Militia doings—The gallant dragoon—

                           CHAPTER L.

  Zoology—Rabbits—Rats—Horned cattle—Horses—Mules—Asses—Sheep—
  Goats—Domestic animals—Whales—Thrasher—Grampus—Porpoise—Shark—
  Anecdote of the Young Creole—Death of the sailor-boy—Remora—
  Pilot fish—Dolphins—Jew fish—Stingray—Corramou—Beautiful
  colours displayed in fish—Parrot fish

                          CHAPTER LI.

  Zoology: Orb-fish—Echinus, known to the ancients—Hippocampus—
  Trumpet-fish—Toad-fish—Sea-blubber, and galley-fish—Sea-polypus
  —Cat-fish—Crabs, oysters, &c.—Turtle—Land-crab—Soldier-crab—
  Cockroach—Caterpillars and butterflies—Ants—Bats—Aquatic birds—
  Land birds—Humming bird—Anecdote

                          CHAPTER LII.


                         CHAPTER LIII.

  officers—Judicial officers—Ecclesiastical establishments—
  Schools—Fortifications and military defences—Revenue—Exports
  and imports—Population returns

  Supplemental Chapter


  No. 1.—Copy of the First Commission which was ever granted for
  the Government of Barbados and the Leeward Islands

  No. 2.—Genealogy Of the Warner Family

  No. 3.—Memorial of the Winthorpe Family

  No. 4.—Genealogy of the Byam Family

  No. 5.—Copy of the Grant of Land to Col. Philip Warner, after
  the Restoration of Antigua to the English Crown, in 1667
  —— Copy of the Grant of Land to Col. Philip Warner, restored to
  him after his acquittal upon the charge of murdering his
  half-brother, the Indian Warner, in 1676

  No. 6.—A Remonstrance of the inhabitants of the island of
  Antigua why they soe very earnestly craved authority and
  commission from his Excellency, William Stapleton, Captain
  General and Governor in chief in and over all his Majesties
  Leward Cariba Islands in America. To kill and destroy the
  Indians inhabiting in ye Island of Dominica and likewise for ye
  craveing ayde from the neighbouring Islands under his
  Excellency’s command which was promised us

  No. 7.—Genealogy of the Williams Family

  Nos. 8. and 9.—Genealogy of the Codrington Family

  No. 10.—Genealogy of the Mathew Family

  No. 11.—List of the Members of the House of Assembly at the
  time of the death of Governor Parke, copied from the Original

  No. 12.—Last Will and Testament of Governor Parke

  No. 13.—Account of the Mackinnon Family

  No. 14.—Papers relative to the Negro Insurrection of 1736

  No. 15.—Genealogy of the Thomas Family

  No. 16.—Genealogy of the Carlisles and Lavingtons

  No. 17.—Genealogy of Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy

  No. 18.—Genealogy of the Willoughby Family

  No. 19.—Genealogy of the Martin Family, of Green Castle

  No. 20.—Genealogy of the Freeman Family

                   ANTIGUA AND THE ANTIGUANS,

                         CHAPTER XXIX.

  Caribs: Domestic state—Treatment of their women—Children—Their
  early tuition—Superstitious cruelties—Hatred of the Arrowawks—
  Female children—Occupation of the men—Canoes—Bows and arrows—
  Cottages—Cooking utensils—Native cloth—Food—Fishing—Decoy fish—
  Spirituous liquors—Personal appearance—Amusements—The Carib
  house—Extermination of the Caribs from Antigua—Remarks upon
  their history.

From a view of the religion of the Caribs, which we have
endeavoured to give some account of in the last chapter, we will
proceed to notice their domestic ties. Alas! we have a very sad
picture here. The ineffable sympathies of the soul, the pure
friendship, the chaste pleasures of the connubial state, were
never known, or at least never appreciated by them. Proud of
excelling in strength and courage, the chief marks of priority
among this rude and savage people, the Caribs treated their women
in every respect as beings of a far inferior nature—to despise
and degrade them by every possible means was esteemed as a manly
virtue. Although given as a reward to successful combatants,
their wives were looked upon as no better than captives; every
species of drudgery fell to their share; while their husbands
passed the day in sleep, unless engaged in war, or in absolute
want of a new weapon. When the men engaged in fishing, the women
were obliged to attend to carry the tackle and bring home the
fruits of their sport; but after cooking it, they were not
allowed to partake of it with their husbands, or even to eat in
their presence. In the island of Cuba at this day this custom is
still extant, for a late traveller remarks, “In some of the first
houses the men sit down to dinner while their wives wait behind
their chairs.” But to return to the Carib women. All their
services were received without gratitude or even complacency—no
cheering word or kind look (and how women appreciate those little
endearments none but a woman can tell) mitigated their incessant
toil or lightened their heavy burdens. They were not allowed to
approach their husbands but with the most abject homage, to look
up to them as exalted beings, to obey their every wish, and that
without uttering a word of complaint or giving a single look of
discontent—all this was expected of the Carib woman. Wearily must
their days have passed, without a hope in this world, and
scarcely one in the other—trouble and sorrow must indeed have
been their lot!

Having considered the Carib’s appreciation of the nearest and
dearest tie in this world, we will proceed to take a view of his
behaviour to his offspring. Perhaps there is not a stronger
passion implanted by nature in the breast than that of parental
love; even in the brute creation, there is a wonderful degree of
instinct in the care of their young. The most stupid and
sluggish, the most fearful and timid animals, become active and
desperate in defence of their infant progeny, and will suffer any
cruelty rather than permit their precious charge to be hurt or
destroyed. If then this feeling exists so strongly in the breasts
of animals devoid of reason, how much more should this be the
case with man, raised as he is far above all terrestrial beings,
endowed with a rational and comprehensive mind, and capable of
enjoying the delights which flow from reciprocal affections! But
in many instances we have to blush for our fellow creatures, and
while we admire the instinct and parental feelings of brutes,
deplore the inferiority of our own race.

The passions of savages, while they last, are more violent and
enthusiastic than those of men who are placed in civilized
society, and consequently under some degree of restraint. Thus it
was with the Caribs during the infancy of their male children; no
duty, however irksome, or ceremony, however severe, which was
fondly hoped would tend to make them formidable warriors, was
regretted or postponed. The father freely lost his own blood to
sprinkle his male child as soon as it was born, in the hopes that
he might be endowed with a portion of his own courage.[1] As the
child grew, he was taught all the arts requisite for his savage
life—to draw the bow, wield the club, make and manage his canoe,
swim skilfully, catch fish, and prepare the poison to dip his
arrows in; he was also instructed in lessons of patience and
fortitude, inspired with courage to attack his foes by having the
deeds of his fathers related to him, and familiarized to look
upon death and danger with contempt.

So far the Carib performed the part of a good parent; but
superstition exerted her gloomy powers, and the cruelties
inflicted on the young Carib by the being from whom he derived
his existence, exhibits a mournful and sanguinary picture,
capable of harrowing up the deepest feelings of the soul. The
dawn of manhood was the hour in which these trials were to be
endured; and at this time the young warrior changed his infant
name for one of greater importance and more significant in
expression. With regard to their female children, but little
fatherly attention was paid them; their education devolved upon
their mothers, who taught them to cull the cotton and weave the
cloth, and, in a word, instructed them in all the duties
necessary to the comfort of their future lords and tyrants. If
very handsome, they were reserved to grace the triumph of some
successful warrior, while those of less beauty were allotted to
men of inferior worth.

The principal occupation of the Carib, the one, as before
remarked, which absorbed the greatest portion of his time and
attention, was war. The study of his life was to render himself
an adept in those arts which would enable him to capture a
greater number of his enemies, and spread desolation wherever he
went. When not thus engaged, his days were passed in listless
apathy. Enveloped in his mantle, and stretched upon his _hemack_
beneath the shade of some luxuriant tree, he enjoyed the breeze
of his native isle without alloy; and unless the calls of hunger
aroused him, or his weapon or canoe required repair, he seldom or
ever stirred. But when the war-cry arose, when an expedition
against the Arrowawks was intended, or when his countrymen
invited him “to seize his war-club,” and avenge the death of some
friend, whose bones lay whitening on another shore, he started
from his repose, and grasped his spear; while the fire emanating
from his dark eyes, his black hair streaming in the blast, his
strong form vibrating from the intensity of his ardour, conspired
to render him what he wished to be—the formidable-looking

But although the Carib was generally during peace fond of
indolence, yet when he chose to exert his powers, his arts and
manufactures displayed a degree of ingenuity surpassing what
could have been expected from his tools. His canoe was formed of
the trunk of large trees, principally that of the ceibar, or silk
cotton, as being more substantial, and of larger bulk. His bow
and arrows were fabricated with a degree of nicety almost
unequalled; some of them inlaid with pieces of tortoiseshell, or
the bones of fish finely polished. His cottage was also built
with some degree of taste, and neatly thatched with plaited
cocoa-nut leaves; and was situated in some of the loveliest
spots. They also possessed the art of fabricating vessels for
cookery, and other domestic uses, from the clay of the island,
which is still in use in Antigua, the negroes making pots for
boiling their victuals, _yubbas_, (or frying-pans,) water-jars,
and several other utensils. Of this clay it is said excellent
bricks might be made; and there are several waste spots of land
belonging to government, which might be turned into extensive
brickfields: the bricks used in the island are all imported.

But to return to our subject: while the men were thus employed,
the women were far from idle: they wove the cloth from the cotton
and bark of trees, and stained it of various colours. Of this
cloth, which was very substantial, they made their beds, which
were suspended from posts by the two ends, and obtained the name
of _hemacks_, from being made by the southern islanders of the
rind of a tree of that name. Columbus was so pleased with them,
that he took the pattern, and used them for the bedding of his
crew. They are still used at the present day under the
appellation of _hammocks_. Of the leaves of the cocoa-nut and
palmetto they also made baskets; while the fibres were twisted
into ropes. The negroes also follow them in this particular,
making rope, and also baskets, which they call “_catacous._”

The Caribs have often been likened to the ancient Jews in some of
their customs; but they did not follow that peculiar people in
abstaining from blood, as they frequently drank that of the
Arrowawks in their inhuman festivals. It is true, they refrained
from eating many kinds of flesh, which were generally reckoned
luxuries by others; but “if it was from religious motives, we are
nowhere sufficiently informed,” as Goldsmith justly observes.
Their greatest treat, however, was human flesh, which they
devoured with avidity whenever they could procure it. The
Arrowawks, or inhabitants of Cuba, and the adjacent islands, as
before remarked, were their principal prey. Sometimes they ate
this horrible food raw; at other times they roasted or boiled it;
but the fat was all preserved for the use of their children, both
as food, and to anoint their bodies, in hopes of rendering them
hardy and valiant; and for this reason they were also frequently
immersed in a _bath of blood_.

Another of their viands, and indeed the principal part of their
food, was fish. These they caught in nets, composed of the
twisted fibres of the cocoa-nut; or else speared them at night as
they rose to the surface of the water to breathe. A similar
practice is still pursued in Scotland; and the dexterity consists
in throwing a spear at the salmon as it springs from the water. A
fuller account would be inconsistent with my present work; but I
refer my readers to Sir W. Scott’s well known novel of “Guy
Mannering,” where it is accurately and vividly described. To
resume our subject:—Columbus mentions seeing some fishermen
making use of very curious assistants in securing their finny
prey, namely, decoy fish. These were a species of small fish,
which abounded in these seas, called “reves.” Fastening a string
round their tails, they were lowered into the water, and, made
cunning by the hand which fed them, these tiny ensnarers
encountered their brethren of the deep; and winding about them,
all were drawn up together.

In looking over the accounts of different countries, everyone
must be struck with the propensity man has of indulging in
spirituous liquors. While the inhabitants of fruitful and sunny
districts imbibe the luscious juice of the grape, the
Kamtschadale ranges his barren and inhospitable clime in search
of a species of grass, from which to obtain a supply of fermented
drink. The Tartar, in his wild state, roaming from pasture to
pasture, placing his whole wealth in his horses and cattle,
silently enjoys the intoxicating qualities of his brandy procured
from the milk of his mares, and sighs not for the richest cup
ever quaffed by the lip of mortals. So likewise the Carib was not
without his stimulants—his festive board was not without its cup.
From the bark of the palm and cocoa-nut tree, they procured a
liquor clear as crystal, which they allowed to ferment, and of
which they were very fond; but their principal drink was mobby,
made from the sweet potatoe, (a native of this island,) which
they also drank in a fermented state. But still drunkenness was
not one of their crimes; it was reserved for their conquerors to
teach them that vice. We are told of an old Carib addressing a
planter in the following manner—“Our people are become almost as
bad as yours. We are so much altered since you came among us,
that we hardly know ourselves; and we think it is owing to so
melancholy a change that the hurricanes are more frequent than
they were formerly. It is an evil spirit who has done all this;
who has taken our best lands from us, and given us up to the
dominion of the Christians.” Alas! poor Caribs, it was an evil
spirit which had come among you—the evil spirit of lawless and
unchristian _men_. Why was your country invaded and your rights
trampled on? Why were your wives and children torn from you?—and
you yourselves condemned to death?—yea, worse than death—to vile
and endless slavery, till time, the end of all things, consigned
you to your silent graves?—are questions which will arise, but
whose answer can only be given in these words—“What is, is best.”

To resume our description of these ancient possessors of Antigua—
these warlike Caribs. Vanity is a passion which to a greater or
lesser degree pervades the breast of almost every mortal, and the
savage in his native wilds feels the force of it in the same
manner, although, perhaps, not to the same _extent_, as the giddy
fair who whirls round the vortex of dissipation within the
purlieus of May Fair. When first discovered by the Spaniards, the
Caribs were habited in different fashions; some appeared in
complete dresses of native cloth, stained of a dark red; others
had only a cotton girdle rolled round their loins; while others,
again, were arrayed in “Nature’s garb.” But although this plain
and scanty dress forbid much fancy or variety, they were far from
unadorned. Their hair was arranged in a thousand fantastic
shapes; some had it braided with small pieces of gold, shells or
shining stones; others decorated it with the teeth and bones of
their enemies; and some, again, placed large bunches of parrots’
feathers upon the top of the head. Nor were all their decorations
confined to their head-dresses; they stained their bodies with
various colours, and in a variety of figures, and, as before
alluded to, caused themselves much pain in thus ornamenting their
persons, by their great propensity for altering their natural
features. It does not appear if this was intended to heighten
their beauty, and render them captivating in the eyes of the
“nice-judging fair,” or if to make them more hideous in the sight
of their enemies; but most probably it was for the latter
purpose, although it has been said “that women always like the

Their amusement, which has also been before observed, was war;
nothing else seemed to please or interest them, it was “their
gain, their glory, their delight!” They had their dances, but
they were rather a serious ceremony than indulged in as a
pastime. Their principal assemblies were held before starting
upon a warlike expedition, when a leader or chief was elected
with the barbarities before described; or upon the return of a
victorious warrior, when these ceremonies concluded with a dance.

In the foregoing review, the character of the red Caribs, the
aborigines of Antigua, has been described; but in different
islands were found different tribes. Guadaloupe was inhabited by
a race of Amazons, who, upon the first appearance of Columbus,
rushed out of a wood, armed with bows and arrows, and attacked
the crew with such determined fury, that he was obliged to open a
fire upon them before they would disperse; that they were also
cannibals was evident from the relics of their disgusting feasts
found in their huts. Some of the other islands were inhabited by
a similar race; but the people of Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica, and
Porto Rico were decidedly of a different family—mild, temperate,
and indolent, they were a certain prey to the ferocious

The Caribs of Antigua were first conquered by the Spaniards in
1521, and after trying to make them work as slaves without
effect, they were finally driven from off the island. As in the
other islands, fire and sword came among them, and the ancient
people of the soil are no more. Their manners and customs, their
hopes and fears, their enjoyments and distresses, are almost
buried in oblivion, only now and then, here and there, we find a
few traces of them in the wide page of history. There are,
however, vestiges of their dwellings still to be met with in
different parts of the island, one of which I had the curiosity
to enter. It appeared to have consisted of two distinct
buildings, the materials of which were composed of the stone
which is common in all parts of the island, cemented with a rough
kind of mortar. The one nearest the north is about fifty feet
long and twenty-five broad; in the middle is a circular hollow;
small square window-places are on all sides, and the door-place
fronts the west. I stood before that open door, and memory
carried me back to “by-gone” ages. The sun had set, but his
golden beams still lingered in the west, and tinged the clouds
with a thousand beautiful colours. Not a single living creature
was in sight, but one poor solitary ground-dove, who sat by the
ruined walls and uttered her plaintive notes. The negroes are of
an opinion that this bird is the harbinger of death; be that as
it may, her melancholy cry on such a spot called up many an
image. Who might not have stood upon the very place where I was
standing and watched that glorious sun while he set? The
formidable-looking Carib, his meek, degraded, uncomplaining wife;
his miserable, wretched victim, the unhappy Arrowawk! All might
have once stood there and gazed upon that very scene. And those
crumbling walls! what tales might not they have told! how many
scenes of bloodshed might not they have witnessed! how many
harsh, discordant notes of revelry, from the wild beings who once
inhabited them, might not they have echoed to! how many piercing
shrieks for mercy from those poor wretched creatures, immolated
upon that family altar for the darkling ceremonies of
superstition, or for the daily meal, might not they have heard!

The other adjoining building has the appearance of a square
tower, and must, in its day, have been a place of some strength;
it is considerably higher than the one before described. I felt
inclined to believe it was built by the buccaneers, who, many
years ago, made these islands their place of resort. In the
island of St. Thomas is still standing a kind of castle, built by
that renowned and formidable captain of pirates, “Blackbeard.”[2]
However, all Antiguans agree in calling the building mentioned
the “Carib’s House.”

To a contemplative mind, how many emotions arise upon taking a
review of history. We see whole nations swept away from the
surface of the globe, and others springing up to form the
connecting link in the grand chain of nature. We see the
stupendous powers of the Omnipotent, at whose beck myriads start
into life—at whose frown they vanish away like chaff before the
wind. We are inclined to ask, Where now is mighty Rome, the
empress of the world? Lost in the abyss of her own power and
greatness. Greece, too, with all her brave sons—her disinterested
patriots—her wise and just lawgivers—where are they? All, all are
fled, their very existence almost forgotten; and as a favourite
traveller remarks, “Greece remembers her sons no more.” He whose
reckless ambition sighed for worlds to conquer, is himself
conquered by the strong hand of death. The prince and peasant,
the rich and poor, the bond and free, alike fall beneath those
all-powerful shafts.

    “The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
    And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave.
    Must wait alike the inevitable hour;
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

While surveying these things, the mind is lost in the boundless
depths of imagination. We are led to reflect upon the transitory
state of existence we pass in this nether world; and the truth
flashes upon us, that however great we may be in our own
estimation—however great in our own conceit, we are but in
reality as the bubble on the water, the ephemera of a summer’s
day. Reader! didst thou ever examine the interior of an ant-hill?
didst thou ever notice how its busy little inmates are hurrying
to and fro, intent upon their different occupations? Some are
occupied in excavating the ground to prepare store-houses for the
preservation of their grain in the winter—some in removing the
dirt from the streets that nothing may obstruct the progress of
their various business—some in plastering the earth with a kind
of clay, which they carefully prepare, that it may not fall in
and destroy their populous city, while others again are preparing
cells for the reception of their eggs.

Thus we see all is bustle, all is activity; like mortals, some
are laying up wealth they are fated never to enjoy, or planning
schemes of grandeur which will never come to pass. The
ploughshare passes over, and where are those busy troops? Eurus
blows his blast in the fierceness of his anger, and the whole
colony is scattered, the swarming multitude is no more. Thus it
is with man: placed by his Creator in so beautiful a world,
endowed, perhaps, with health, and riches, and honours,
surrounded by a circle of friends and flatterers, enjoying all
the pomps and luxuries of this life, he drinks deeply of the
intoxicating cup of Circe, and forgets that he is but a child of
clay, “a stranger and a sojourner as all his fathers were.”

I have been led into these reflections from the fact, that the
people whose history I have been narrating are entirely
exterminated from Antigua and the adjoining islands; that of all
those swarming hosts who were gathered upon the beach to resist
the landing of the Spaniards, who first visited this island, not
one of their descendants is left. And now, in concluding this
chapter, all that remains for me to do is, to crave the pardon
and indulgence of my readers for so often leaving “Antigua and
the Antiguans,” and wandering in another pathway; but according
to an old saying, “Our thoughts are not always under our own
control;” or, as it is said in more modern language, “Woman is an
Eolian harp, the strings of which are moved by every wind that


[1] This was done, by allowing one of his veins to be opened for
the purpose.

[2] The real name of this pirate was Edward Toutch, a native of
Spanish Town, in Jamaica. Of all pirates, this man was the most
ferocious; the deeds he committed being more like those of a
demon than a man. He was at length attacked by a lieutenant of an
English man-of-war, off the coast of Virginia, and taken
prisoner. He was afterwards executed, and his head stuck upon a
pole erected upon that coast, as a warning to other lawless

                          CHAPTER XXX.

  Negroes: Their introduction into the New World—Bartholomew Las
  Casas—His intercessions in favour of the Indians—Cardinal
  Ximenes—Origin of the slave trade—Its adoption by the English
  government—Character of slavery—Mental degeneracy—Instances of
  superior faculties among the Negro race—Juan Parega—Phillis
  Wheatley—Ignatius Sancho—His letter to the Rev. L. Sterne—
  Slavery in its early days—Punishment of the negroes in 1736.

In furtherance of my plan, of commencing from the earliest period
the history of this small but important colony, it also devolves
upon me to give some account of the first introduction of negroes
into this quarter of the globe, particularly as they form so
large a bulk of the population of Antigua.

The negroes, as perhaps many of my readers may be aware, were
first introduced generally into the West Indies, as labourers, in
1515, although some few had been sent there a short time before.
Bartholomew Las Casas, an eminent Spanish divine, was one of
those who proposed this measure, and spent both time and money in
its completion. Las Casas was born at Seville, in the year 1474;
and at the age of nineteen, accompanied his father to the West

At this period, Rodrigo Albuquerque, the confidential minister of
Ferdinand V. of Spain, had succeeded Don Diego, the son of
Christopher Columbus, in the government of Hispaniola, which the
Spaniards still considered as their principal colony. Albuquerque
was a man of violent passions, and rapacious in the acquisition
of wealth; and under his government the poor Indians led but a
miserable life; and with hard labour and ill-treatment they were
almost exterminated. The cruel and arbitrary proceedings adopted
towards them excited compassion in the minds of all who had the
least particle of commiseration in their natures. The
missionaries had early expressed their abhorrence of the system
of parting the Indians among the settlers, by which means they
became the slaves of their conquerors. The Dominicans, in
particular, had strongly protested against the “_repartimientos_”
(or sharing) as it was termed; and not content with remonstrating
in private, made the pulpit the theatre of action, and denounced
curses upon the heads of those who followed that plan.

Bartholomew Las Casas early became a convert to their opinions
upon this head. He not only gave up all the Indians which had
fallen to his share, but tried all means in his power to persuade
his countrymen to do so likewise. He remonstrated with
Albuquerque upon the unlawfulness of his conduct; but he found
that tyrant too much engrossed with the sordid love of acquiring
gold for his remonstrances to be of any effect. When Las Casas
found this to be the case, he determined to depart for Spain, and
lay his complaint at the feet of Ferdinand.

After a protracted voyage of many weeks, Las Casas arrived safe
at Cadiz, and quickly obtained an interview with his sovereign,
whom he found to be in a very languishing state of health.
Ferdinand listened with deep attention to Las Casas’
representation of the sufferings endured by the unfortunate
natives of the West Indies; and expressed deep compunction for
his guilt in having authorized this measure of sharing, which had
brought destruction upon so many innocent people; and finally, he
promised to take into consideration the means of redressing the
grievances he had occasioned. Death, however, put an end to all
his resolves; and Charles V. of Germany, who succeeded him, being
then in Austria, appointed the celebrated Cardinal Ximenes his

Las Casas was not wearied with his undertaking, or disheartened
with his disappointment; he obtained an interview with the
regent, and argued his cause with so much feeling and eloquence,
that Ximenes appointed a commission of monks from St. Jerome to
go to the West Indies and make every inquiry into the situation
of the wretched inhabitants, directing Las Casas to accompany
them, with the title of “Protector of the Indians.” Upon their
arrival, the monks proceeded with caution to investigate the
matter; and after some time spent in this way, gave it as their
opinion, that the Spaniards must either give up their American
conquests, or be satisfied with very little gain, unless the
system of slavery was tolerated; at the same time, expressing
their determination to try all endeavours in their power to
secure to the Indians a milder and a better treatment.

All but Las Casas were satisfied with these proceedings, but he
argued for total exemption; and so strenuously did he urge his
plea, that the planters’ anger was aroused, and he was obliged to
retire into a convent to preserve his life. But Las Casas was not
the man to give up a favourite project for a trifle. Finding how
ill he succeeded in the New World, he determined once more to
sail for Spain, and employ every means and exert every energy to
accomplish his plans, and never to give up his labours until
death or the accomplishment of his wishes ended them.

By the time he arrived at home, the Cardinal Ximenes had resigned
the regency, and Charles had assumed the reins of government, and
to this monarch Las Casas carried his complaints. The emperor
listened to him, and appointed another commission of monks to
inquire into the business; but Las Casas knew the opposition this
measure would meet with, and the little good it would effect; he
therefore set his wits to work to find out some other expedient,
and at last thought of introducing other labourers into the West
Indies in lieu of the Indians.

The use the Portuguese made of their African discoveries was to
ensnare the inhabitants and sell them as slaves; and Las Casas
thought that if these wretched people could be transported in
numbers to America, they would, from their stronger constitutions
and hardy frames, answer better than the natives themselves. This
plan was laid before the council in Spain, and although strongly
resisted by Cardinal Ximenes, who saw the impropriety of
condemning an innocent nation to perpetual slavery to save
another, the measure was carried by a majority of voices, and
Charles granted to a favourite courtier a patent, empowering him
to purchase slaves in Africa, and ship them to the West Indies.

This patent was purchased by some Genoese merchants, who
immediately put it into execution, and thus that detestable
traffic, the “slave trade,” was introduced by men calling
themselves _Christians_, and professing to follow the doctrines
of their divine Master, while they deliberately set at nought his
great precept—“Do unto others as you would have others do unto
you.” It is not within the plan of the present work to inquire
how much the situation of the Indians was improved by this
arrangement, but will merely observe, that while Las Casas spent
his time, his money, and his health, in trying to benefit his
favourite people, he forgot all other classes, and completely
shut the door of mercy upon the unoffending Africans; and for no
other cause than it had pleased their Creator to bestow upon them
greater strength than upon the natives of the West, they were
torn from their country, their friends, and home, and, to
“increase a stranger’s treasures,” consigned to hopeless misery.

To the Portuguese and Genoese the slave-trade exclusively
belonged for many years; at length, the Dutch, seeing the
gainfulness of it, engaged in it; and in 1564, during the reign
of Queen Elizabeth, Sir John, then Mr. Hawkins, introduced this
bloodstained commerce (for so it may justly be termed) into the
English trade, and thus tarnished the bright name he had acquired
by his many naval victories.

Oh, that England, so famous for her spirit of liberty, should
have ever imbrued her hands in this inhuman traffic!—that she,
the “empress of the waves,” should have lent her power to crush
these unfortunate beings!—that that nation by whom the sweets of
domestic ties are so peculiarly felt and appreciated, should have
been among the first to rend husband from wife, the babe from its
mother, the daughter from her old parent, and condemn them to

    “Plough the winter’s wave, and reap despair!”

that Britons, free-born Britons, such advocates for liberty!
should have acted thus for so many years, even when the dark
clouds of ignorance had been dispersed, and “knowledge to their
eyes” had unfolded “her ample page,” is almost beyond credence.
But, alas! it proves how much “the clink of Mammon’s box” charms
the ear and deadens the nobler feelings of the soul. In 1592, two
years before he died, Sir John Hawkins was so impressed with
horror at what he had done in introducing the slave-trade to the
notice of his countrymen, who had eagerly pursued it, that he
built a hospital at Rochester, to atone, in some measure, for his
violation of the laws of humanity.

Draco’s laws were said to be written with a pen of iron, in
letters of blood; and surely, so also have the annals of slavery
been described. “Disguise thyself as thou wilt,” says Sterne,
“still, slavery—still thou art a bitter draught!” And, bitter as
it is, our poor West Indian slaves have, in former years, drained
the cup to the very dregs. But, thank God, the cry—“Am I not a
man and a brother!” has been heard and acknowledged. The names of
Sharpe, Wilberforce, and Fox, with many others, are engraved deep
in the hearts of all true lovers of humanity, for their strenuous
endeavours, year after year, in procuring the abolition of this
infernal traffic; and universal gratitude is due to Buxton,
Lushington, and their right worthy fellow-labourers of the
present day, for their share in effecting the final measure of
emancipation. And in this place, I must beg to proffer my thanks
to the many kind hearts which beat in Antigua, _slave-owners_ as
they were, for their joint exertions with our English
philanthropists in bringing this glorious freedom about; and for
their cheerful acquiescence, when accomplished, in giving their
slaves immediate freedom. They asked for no apprenticeship—they
would not even accept it; but they trusted to their negroes, and
set them free at once. Yet England did not behave to the
Antiguans as she ought to have done. Instead of rewarding them
for their disinterested conduct, by allotting to them a larger
share of the compensation-money, their portion was _smaller_ than
that of any of the other islands. The excuse for this was, that
slaves were _less_ valued in Antigua. But what caused them to be
less valuable? Did our English government ask that question? Do
our friends “at home” know the answer? The Antiguans had become
sensible of the inhumanity of dealing in human flesh; and
although they were obliged to employ their slaves to till their
fields, it was very few persons who thought of purchasing
negroes. This was the reason, and not because her slaves were
worse than those of other islands, or less competent for

Slavery is not only revolting for the cruelties it has
occasioned, but it is debasing to the mind. How few, _very few
slaves_, have we heard of, who have shewn any intellectual
qualifications, or made any improvements in machinery or
agriculture! Nor need we be surprised at this; for had a slave
proposed anything of the kind, his master would have probably
considered it as a suggestion of indolence, or a desire to save
himself from toil at the expense of others.

Some authors have asserted, that negroes are an unimprovable
race, incapable of receiving instruction, or having sufficient
reason to discern right from wrong. But I am not at all inclined
to assent to such a doctrine, but attribute the fact, that
greater talents have not been shewn by them, as before remarked,
to the degradation of slavery. Indeed, we have had some few
instances of _considerable_ display of abilities among this sable
people; one or two instances of which it may not be amiss to

One of these _clever negroes_ was a slave, named Juan de Parega,
who was sent from the West Indies as a present to Diego
Valasquez, the celebrated Spanish painter, about the year 1600.
Juan was very fond of painting, and his own natural talents
enabled him to study it with great effect. This he did, however,
secretly, for fear of giving offence to his master, who, he
thought, might be angry with a slave for disgracing the art.
Philip the Fourth of Spain was a great admirer of the fine arts,
and a frequent visitor at Valasquez’s study, where, if he met any
pictures with their faces to the wall,[4] he was sure to request
they might be turned. One day, when the monarch came to the
house, during the absence of Valasquez, and before he proceeded
to the study, Juan took one of his own pictures, hung it up in a
prominent situation, with the painted side turned to the wall,
and with trembling heart awaited the result. Philip’s step was
heard upon the stair—his finger was upon the lock—poor Juan’s
emotion almost stifled him!—the door opened, and his majesty
entered. His quick eye immediately alighted upon the new picture,
which he ordered Juan to turn. This was done; and after examining
it for some time, Philip pronounced it beautiful! The gratified
slave, his eyes beaming with delight, while he trembled at the
thoughts of his audacity, fell upon his knees before his
sovereign, acknowledged it to be his work, and prayed him to
intercede with his master for him, that his presumption might be
pardoned. Philip raised him from his knees, commended his
talents, and; upon seeing Valasquez, told him he ought to free
such a man. This was done; but Juan would never quit his kind
master: he remained with him, studying and improving under his
tuition, until eventually he became one of the first
portrait-painters of his day.

Another instance we have in Phillis Wheatley; she was purchased
by Mrs. F. Wheatley in Boston slave-market, (America,) when she
was about seven or eight years old. Shewing great natural
talents, her mistress had her taught reading, writing, &c. As she
grew up to womanhood, she attracted the notice of many literary
characters, who supplied her with books and directed her studies.
When about fourteen years of age, she attempted compositions both
in prose and verse; and between that and nineteen, all her works
were published.[5]

While upon this subject, we must not forget Ignatius Sancho.
Ignatius was born on board a slave-ship a few days after it had
left Guinea, in 1729. The severities his mother met with put an
end to her existence a short time after her arrival in the West
Indies; and his father took it so much to heart that he committed
suicide. This plainly proves that negroes are not so utterly
devoid of natural affections as some would have us believe—

    “Skins may differ, but affection
    Dwells in black and white the same.”

But to return to our hero. After some years, he was brought to
England, through the kindness of the Duke of Montague, and
obtained means of instruction. He wrote a great many letters,
which were deemed worthy of being published; and a large
subscription was raised. They were reckoned very well written;
one of them, upon slavery, may not prove uninteresting to many of
my readers. It was addressed to the Rev. L. Sterne, 1776.

“Rev. Sir,—It would be an insult to your humanity (or perhaps
look like it) to apologize for the liberty I am taking. The first
part of my life was rather unlucky, as I was placed in a family
who judged ignorance to be the best and only security for
obedience; a little reading and writing I got by unwearied
application. The latter part of my life has been, through God’s
blessing, truly fortunate, having spent it in the service of one
of the best and greatest families in the kingdom: My chief
pleasure has been books—philanthropy I adore. How much, very
much, good sir, am I (among millions) indebted to you for the
character of your amiable Uncle Toby. I declare I would walk ten
miles in the dog-days to shake hands with the honest Corporal.
Your sermons have touched me to the heart, and, I hope, have
amended it, which brings me to the point.

“In your tenth discourse is this very affecting passage:—
‘Consider how great a part of our species, in all ages down to
this, have been trod under the feet of cruel and capricious
tyrants, who would neither hear their cries nor pity their
distress. Consider slavery, what it is—how bitter a draught, and
how many millions are made to drink of it!’

“Of all my favourite authors, not one has drawn a tear in favour
of my miserable black brethren excepting yourself and the humane
author of ‘Sir George Ellison.’ I think you will forgive me—I am
sure you will applaud me—for beseeching you to give one half-hour
to slavery as at this day practised in our West Indian colonies.
That subject handled in your striking manner, would ease the yoke
perhaps of many; but if only one—gracious God! what a feast to a
benevolent heart. And I am sure you are an Epicurean in acts of
charity; you, who are universally read, and as universally
admired, you cannot fail.

“Dear Sir, think in me you behold the uplifted hands of thousands
of my brethren Moors. Grief, you pathetically observe, is
eloquent. Figure to yourself their attitudes; hear their
supplicating addresses; alas! you cannot refuse—humanity must
comply. In which hope I beg permission to subscribe myself,

                                             “Rev. Sir, &c. &c.”

This is the letter; all must know Sterne’s beautiful piece on
“Slavery,” which it produced. At one time, Ignatius Sancho had an
idea of going upon the stage, and actually offered himself to Mr.
Garrick, to perform the character of Othello and Oronooko; but an
irreparable defect in his articulation prevented him from putting
his designs into execution. Ignatius died from a complication of
disorders in the year 1780, aged fifty-one; he was much esteemed
by his friends in England.

These examples before us, and others which might be added, prove
that the negroes are not always the unintelligent beings they
have been supposed; and I do hope, that now so much has been done
for them, they will alter their character, and strive to suppress
those vices which their life of servitude has produced among
them. They are no longer treated as beasts of burden, but taught
to consider themselves as men; they make it a constant boast, “Me
free, me no b’longs to you!” I hope they may shew they deserve
their freedom by their good conduct; then we may hope for better
days; we may see virtues springing up among them; emanations of
genius may arise and surprise the whole world.

I wish them well—I feel interested about them—I desire their good
—and I am sorry, _very sorry_, that in the course of these
remarks I may have so much to say about them. But when I have to
touch upon the dark part of their character, for “lights and
shadows” _must_ be depicted, I beseech you, my kind readers, to
remember how short has been their life of freedom; how few have
been their advantages, comparatively speaking; and above all,
remember evil is not to be returned for evil, but rather good.

There are many worthy industrious characters among this class of
persons in Antigua; not famous, it is true, for any great display
of abilities, or of superior talents, like Juan Parega, or our
friend Sancho, but men of sound mind, well-behaved, and clever in
producing little articles of native manufacture. A fancy sale was
held in this island in January, 1837, and among the contributions
was a miniature sugar-mill, with all its vanes &c. complete,
capable of grinding the canes when peeled. This pretty little
article was the work and gift of one who, in 1834, was a slave
belonging to the Hon. Bertie E. Jarvis. It was purchased by two
American gentlemen, friends of liberty, who were residing for a
short time in Antigua, to see how the free system worked, and who
carried it with them to America, to shew what a free negro could
do. Had slavery still existed, that man would never have exerted
his talents with such success, for either he would not have had
the time allowed, or he would not have had the spirit.

In this remark, I mean no disrespect to his late owner; far from
it, for I have ever heard that the Hon. B. E. Jarvis ranked among
those worthy characters, many, very many of whom I glory to say
were to be found in Antigua, who, while they knew their slaves
were their goods, their _chattels_, scorned to use unnecessary
punishments, but treated them kindly, listened to their wants,
and protected them when in need.

Truly grateful ought we to be that, in British colonies at least,
slavery is no more; for it was a dark spot in the fair character
of Britain, which no reasoning, however subtle, could hide.
Interested persons might boast of the legal regulations for the
protection of slaves; but in truth, those laws were either
insufficient or not rigidly enforced; some way or the other, the
laws which were made for the protection of the slave, generally
turned out to the benefit of the master.

At the trial of a planter for the murder of his slave, one of the
persons summoned as a juror begged to be excused from acting,
giving as his reason “that he thought such a trial would be
hurtful to the West Indian Islands, as it would make the slaves
saucy!” What! then a man was to lacerate, to _kill_ his poor
slave, under circumstances of the most barbarous cruelty, and yet
not to be brought to justice, not to be punished as he justly
deserved—and for why? Oh! blush to hear it, my readers—_because
it would make the slaves saucy!_ Happy am I to state, that this
_conscientious_ juryman lived not in Antigua—that this horrible
murder was not committed there.

I mean not to insinuate that this was the general opinion of
residents in the West Indies; far from it; this was a solitary
case. Murder is a crime generally detested; man must become an
incarnate demon, or one from whom all reason has fled, before he
can perpetrate such an act: and whoever may be the victim, all
classes are anxious to bring the murderer to justice. But, and I
feel confident I am not going beyond the truth, in many
instances, crimes of less magnitude, where loss of life and limb
has not ensued, have been passed over, or if noticed, and the
form of trial complied with, Astræa has not equally balanced her
scales, and the negro has not been righted _because he was only a

Oh! I have heard and read of deeds of blood which would chill the
very soul—deeds which in other days have been practised in
Antigua, noted as she was for the mildness of her slave laws.
Those infernal instruments of torture have been used, even
invented, by man in his most debased state—“the detestable,
ever-to-be-detested cart-whip,” the heavy chain, the dark
loathsome dungeon, the thumb-screw, and the barbarous
“mouth-piece,” as it was termed, which was a plate of iron
pressing upon the tongue, while bars of iron enclosed the head,
and a padlock, fastened behind the victim’s neck, prevented their
agonizing cries from reaching mortal ears. But the Infinite from
his bright throne saw and pitied these poor wretched sons of Ham,
and sent men of milder mood—men whose hearts were touched with
their miseries, whose ears were open to their cries—to labour and
exert themselves in their behalf, and at last obtain their

Sometimes iron rings were fastened round their legs, which their
kind and humane masters jocularly termed, “negro-boots;” at other
times massy iron collars were fixed round their necks, to which
was attached galling chains; and fearful these might give _too
little pain_, or occasion _too little inconvenience_,
half-hundred weights were hung to them. It used to be a method of
punishment, it is said, in former times, when owners did not mind
losing the value of a negro or two, to take an empty hogshead,
and after driving plenty of nails into it, making the points to
protrude in the inside, to put a slave or two into it, and
heading it up, roll them down a steep hill; and thus leave them
to expire. Some masters, when their slaves were _very ill_, or
_very old_, and could be of no further service, used to bury them
alive; and it is said, that upon being put into their graves,
they have been heard to say, “Pray, massa, no bury me, me no dead
yet; do, massa, let dem take me out;” and the master, with a
curse upon his lips, has replied that he had plenty of money to
buy more; he did not want an old, half-dead negro.

Gibbeting alive was another mode of punishment formerly in use;
and when adopted, the sufferers have been known to live more than
a week. That any one could deliberately condemn a fellow-creature
to such intolerable anguish seems almost impossible; yet that
such has been the case in Antigua, is remembered by some alive; I
have heard of one instance in which a white man was the sufferer.
I should not have noticed it in this place, was it not that it
proves how much cruelty was practised even in those days. All
will allow, or at least ought to do, that when a criminal suffers
the extreme penalty of the law, it is done for the sake of
example, not revenge; and consequently, the mildest and quickest
kind of death should be practised. The circumstance alluded to,
was as follows. A white man, known as Captain White, the owner of
a small vessel, had for some length of time committed piracy upon
the high seas; but at last was taken, and brought into Antigua.
He was condemned to die, and that death to be by gibbeting. A
gibbet was accordingly prepared; the wretched man was carried to
a bay, near where St. James’s Fort is now erected, and there, in
the face of heaven, _he was hung up in chains, alive!_ with a
loaf of bread and a calabash of water almost within his reach;
but which, like the waters of Tartarus to him of old, only mocked
him with their approach, as the wind blew them backwards and
forwards. The man lived nine days in this situation; and in the
extremity of his hunger, actually ate the flesh from off his
shoulders. The place where he was executed is well known to many
in Antigua as White’s Bay, and a few years ago, the remains of
the gibbet was to be met with. How ought we to bless God, that we
lived not in those days; that our feelings are now not outraged
by any of those dreadful exhibitions: certainly, his crime
(piracy) was a dreadful one, but who cannot but feel for his

The following letter from a white inhabitant throws a further
light upon the insurrection of the negroes, in 1736, which we
have noticed in the “Legend of the Ravine;” and points out the
particular punishment awarded to many of the actors in that

                                       Antigua, Jan. 15th, 1736.

  “Dear Friend,

“We are in a great deal of trouble in this island; the burning of
negroes, hanging them up on gibbets alive, racking them upon the
wheel, &c., takes up all our time; that from the 20th of October
to this day, there have been destroyed _sixty-one_ intelligent
negroes, most of them tradesmen, as carpenters, coopers, and

“I am almost dead with watching and working, as are many more.
They were going to destroy all the white inhabitants of the
island. ‘Count,’ the king of the negroes, ‘Tomboy,’ his general,
and ‘Hercules,’ his lieutenant-general, who were all racked upon
the wheel, died with obstinacy. Mr. Archibald Hamilton’s ‘Harry,’
after he was condemned, stuck himself with a knife, in eighteen
different places, four of which were mortal. Colonel Martin’s
‘Jemmy,’ who was hung up alive from noon to eleven o’clock at
night, was then taken down to give information. Colonel Morgan’s
‘Ned,’ after he had been hung up seven days and seven nights,
that his hands grew too small for his hand-cuffs, he got them out
and raised himself, and fell down from a gibbet fifteen feet
high; he was revived with cordials and broths, in hopes to bring
him to confess, but he would not, and was hung up again, and in a
day and a night expired. Mr. Yeaman’s ‘Quashy Coonah’ jumped out
of the fire half burnt, but was thrown in again; and Mr. Lyon’s
‘Fine,’ jumped out of the fire, and promised to confess all, but
it took no effect. In short, our island is in a poor, miserable
condition, and I wish I could get any employment in England to

I mean not to sicken my readers by too minute details of what
slavery was in its dark and fearful days; but it is proper that a
few instances should be given, that the young in particular may
rejoice they live in a day when “liberty, that thrice-sweet and
gracious goddess,” has so ample a domain; and while they delight
in the freedom of British negroes, drop a tear of pity to the
fate of those unfortunates who are torn every year from all the
endearing ties of country, friends, and home, that they may
obtain for their unfeeling masters a little more of the “honey of
Hybla,” which is so sweet, that even peace of mind is too often
sacrificed for it.

The examples which I have already given may be said to have
happened many years ago; but still, for long after that, the life
of a slave was looked upon as of very little value, provided the
master was reimbursed for the cash they cost. If brought before a
magistrate one day, they were, perhaps, condemned and executed
the day after; and should a condemned criminal accost a passer-by
in these words—“Ah! buddy you no no me now; but p’raps you will,”
and such salutation be heard by the sentinel, that person, if
even a stranger, and guiltless, perhaps, of all offence, was
taken up on suspicion of having some dealing with the captive,
and in some instances suffered death with him. The intrigues
which were carried on between negroes in those days, rendered it,
it is said, expedient to adopt these harsh measures.

I have heard it asserted, that the reason slaves first came to be
tried by jury, in 1785, was this:—A black man was brought up
before two magistrates, on suspicion of having committed some
heinous crime; and after hearing the case, the culprit was
condemned and executed. A week or two elapsed, and something
transpired to lead to a suspicion that he was not the guilty
party. Through the exertion of a Mr. Gunthorpe, the case was
tried again; and the result was, that the man was pronounced
innocent. After that it was ordained, that no slave should be
condemned to _death_, without being first brought before a jury,
consisting of six persons.

For the particulars of this case, I am indebted to an old man
well known in Antigua. He bears the burthen of eighty-six years,
and is still as active and strong as many a one only half that
age. I heard him speak very highly of our late gracious majesty
William IV., who, when he was in the navy, visited Antigua for
some time. “Prince Henry was a good young gentleman, God bless
his memory!” cried the old man. “I used to wait upon him, and
have often heard him speak of what good he would do, should he
ever come to the throne. He has spared many a black person a good
flogging. And when we all heard he was king, every one said—God
bless him!” Old Mascall, for that is his name, can tell many a
tale of other days, and no doubt has seen many shocking sights in
the course of his long life. I heard him tell of another
gentleman, who used to treat his slaves in a most barbarous
manner, giving them commonly fifty lashes at one time, and then
calling for a lighted candle, drop melted sealing-wax upon the
gashes. His cook used to be chained to a “fifty -six,” (a weight
of fifty-six pounds,) with a chain long enough to enable him to
walk from the kitchen to the house; and his washer used also to
be chained in like manner to her wash-tub, in which situation, my
informant told me, one woman dropped down dead, with her chains
around her.[6] With regard to this piece of cruelty, all that I
can say, but which on no account do I offer as an excuse, is,
that the negroes are very stubborn, and given to prevarication.
They have so often represented themselves ill, when such has not
been the case, that they might avoid their day’s labour, that
when really suffering from sickness, they have seldom met with
any sympathy.


[3] Although the slave-trade had been abolished, yet it was still
customary for the island slaves to change owners as a horse
would; but the Antiguans becoming sensible of such inhuman
practice, few purchasers could be found, consequently negroes
were of less value in the way of traffic. As regards their
labour, however, they were of equal value to their masters in
Antigua, as the slaves of other colonies.

[4] A sign that they were new subjects.

[5] See Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal.

[6] Old Mascall’s information may be doubted by some, but it
certainly agrees with the authenticated cruelties which were
practised in former years, the details of which have been omitted
from want of space.

                         CHAPTER XXXI.

  Negroes: Palliations, _but not excuses_, for former cruelties—A
  harsh planter—Crimes of slaves—The little negroes’ dinner-hour—
  A character—Negroes’ want of thought—Bartering their weekly
  provisions—Pilfering—The Rock Dungeon—A Tortolian slave-master—
  The murdered slave—Branding—Slave cargo—Remarks upon slavery—A
  good slave-master—A kind attorney—Negro gratitude.

When I undertook this work, I laid down for myself one uniform
rule, the propriety of which my readers must admit, which was, to
adhere strictly to facts without fear or favour. I mourn to think
that any one, much more a Briton, should have practised those
cruel deeds which were perpetrated even in this island, in former
days. I am well aware how much patience it requires to deal with
negroes, and also how strong the force of example is. We all of
us are liable to err; those passions which it has pleased the
Giver of all to ingraft in our bosoms, although not to be
extirpated, as the disciples of Zeno would have us believe,
require to be kept under strict restraint, or else how soon we
may be led to commit acts we ourselves would be the first to
condemn. Self-control is no easy matter; the wise man says—“He
who ruleth his own spirit is greater than he who taketh a city.”
Nothing will enable us to overcome ourselves but a deep feeling
of religion. In those early times of slavery there was no settled
place of worship—no sound of the “church-going” bell in Antigua;
and men who might have left England with the best of feelings,
from living in this manner, and having to deal with stubborn and
aggravating characters, in time grew callous.

The flowers which deck this beautiful world require the suns and
dews of heaven to support their fragile forms; the birds which
charm us with their melody look up to their Maker’s hand for
their daily food; can it be supposed, then, that man, a weak and
sinful creature, can walk uprightly without a daily intercourse
with his God? No; let philosophers boast as they will, man’s
greatest strength is in his weakness; and it is from the spread
of Christianity in these parts, and Christian pastors taking the
place of those “blind leaders of the blind,” who, in former days,
presumed to preach the gospel here, that people are enabled to
bear with the negroes, and not give way to such violent acts of
resentment again them. As I remarked in the conclusion of the
former chapter, I cannot, _dare not_ offer these remarks as an
excuse for cruelty; but while I reprobate such conduct as I have
been describing, I cannot help thinking how different the time
was then to what it is now—how the bright day-spring has chased
away the clouds of night.

But my melancholy subject is not yet ended; a few more acts
remain to be exhibited before the curtain falls. There was some
years ago an Antiguan planter who was of such a tyrannical
disposition, that he was an object of dread to the whole negro
population, until at length he made himself so hated by them,
from his cruel punishment, that he fancied his life in danger,
and therefore quitted the island, and remained absent for many
years. It was customary for many persons at that time to send, or
threaten to send, negroes who were refractory or lazy, to Mr. ——
for punishment, and so dreaded was his name, that, in most cases,
it procured good behaviour and declarations of amendment; for
hard, indeed, was the fate of those who fell into his hands. It
is said that Mr. —— has been known to order two drivers to
stretch a slave, no matter whether male or female, upon the
ground, and to flog them until he rode round his estate, (which
was one of good extent,) and upon his return, if he did not think
the gashes sufficiently open, he would make them continue their
demoniac employment for a longer period. The operation of
flogging was thus performed:—the unfortunate victims of their
barbarity were stretched upon the earth their full-length, four
men held them down, while one or more drivers, with their immense
cart-whips, lacerated the flesh at every stroke. Sometimes after
this violent discipline of the whip, more humane masters, if they
can be termed so, have ordered their bleeding backs to be washed
with pickle, in order to prevent mortification; but Mr. —— would
not allow this to be done; he would not let them have any
assistance; but chains have been put upon them, and they have
been led back to their dungeon, and maggots have been known to
breed in their flesh!

This is no tale of fiction, no “Castle of Udolpho,” to horrify
the mind with its ideal fancies; no, it is the plain, unvarnished
tale of truth, of what our poor negroes once suffered in
Christian countries from those who professed themselves Christian
masters. I mean not to say that every slave-owner was a man of
blood; God forbid they should have been, for then every breeze
that blew would have been loaded with groans—every sun that rose
would have witnessed mangled bodies. No; there were many, very
many, in Antigua who treated their slaves with the utmost
kindness, even in slavery’s early days; but more particularly in
this generation, when milder principles were inculcated, and
milder punishments put into effect.

But, it may be inquired, what was the fault of negroes? Surely
they must be crimes of great magnitude to call for so severe a
use of the whip. In answer, we can only observe that these
faults, or crimes, or errors, call them what you will, were
various. For example: sometimes a mule or two strayed into a
cane-field and cropped the young canes, or part of the herd of
cattle broke away from the cattle-keepers when inattentive to
them, and devoured, or trod down, a piece of yams. Some of the
slaves ran away for a day or two, and others returned saucy
answers, (which all negroes are very competent to do;) some were
lazy, some did their work ill, and some again were behind the
time in which they were required by law to commence their daily
labour in the field; the list was called over by the overseer
before they arrived, and they were reported “absent.”

Another frequent crime was theft. In times of slavery, as already
shewn, instead of giving money to the negroes as a recompence,
every necessary was found them by their owners—their dress, their
houses, their doctor, and their food. The common practice upon
estates was, to distribute to the negroes dresses twice in the
year, and their provisions once or twice in the week. This
consisted (as mentioned in a former part of this work) of so many
yards of cloth, shirting, flannel, and so many woollen caps,
handkerchiefs, &c., for their wardrobes; and for their weekly
provision so many pounds of yams, herrings, or mackerel, &c., for
each grown person; and at Christmas time, a further supply of
salt pork and wheat flour.

The little children had their own allowance, and upon those
estates where the proprietor or manager cared for their welfare,
an old woman was employed to boil it for them; and about noon
they all marched up to the “great house” with their calabashes in
their hands, which answered the purpose of plate and bason, to
partake of the “savoury messes” not “which the _neat-handed_
Phillis dresses,” for these pic’ni’es cook was anything but
neat-handed or clean.

I have often been amused, upon visiting an estate belonging to
Sir Geo. Thomas, Bart., where the attorney was a kind and humane
master, at seeing these little people eat their dinners. There
was a large paved court before the door, around which the little
_blackies_ were seated, waiting in silence for their share. The
old woman having seen them well arranged, returned for the pot,
which was placed in the centre, and contained various
ingredients, as yams, potatoes, corn-flour dumplings, herrings,
with a good supply of water, &c., forming a kind of
“_olla-podrida_.” How many little black sparkling eyes were fixed
upon that pot and its contents, while the old woman took the
important office of distributing it into the numerous attending
calabashes. When the information “All done, massa,” meaning that
the pot was empty, was given, (for the master was present to see
that these poor little children got their proper portion,) and
Mr. ——, with an arch smile, asked, “No more herring left?” and
the negative given, they all rose, one by one, and fetched their
own share, when, without any spoon but what Dame Nature gave them
in their fingers, it quickly found its way to their mouths,
without a drop being wasted; the calabashes turned down, shewed
the important business was over, and the old woman and her charge
departed to their accustomed pursuits.

Years have passed since I witnessed those scenes, but I fancy I
can see that old woman now. Age is not famous for loveliness, and
I am sure none was there. She must have been in her youth very
tall, but when I knew her, time had bent her form and grizzled
her woolly hair. Her complexion was of a coal black, with a most
sinister expression of countenance; her dull black eyes were
never still; her face looked as if every moment added another
wrinkle, while an immense pair of elephant legs completed the
picture. She was very famous, I afterwards found out, for giving
the children the liquid portion of the mess, and reserving the
herrings for herself, which occasioned Mr. ——’s question.

But to resume the sadder part of my picture, (for the digression
I have been led into may be termed one of the “lights” of
slavery,) slaves’ crimes and slaves’ punishments. Upon the
“allowance days,” as they were called, the negroes were very
flush of provisions; and having no thoughts of a “rainy day,” or,
in other words, putting by a portion for the other days of the
week, they sold them for anything that took their fancy. The
consequence of this was, that for the rest of the week they were
in a state of starvation, and unless any friend ministered to
their wants, they very likely entered their master’s provision
grounds, and stole part of the productions. This, of course, was
discovered in the morning, the culprits generally detected, and
they received their punishment, varying in degrees of severity,
according to the disposition of their masters. At one time this
system of bartering the food given them by their owners for
indifferent articles was so prevalent, that complaints were laid
before the house of assembly; and in the year 1814, an act passed
which was intended as a preventive against this practice.

Another crime of slaves was to milk the cattle upon the estates,
and sell the milk in town; and this again called for the use of
the whip. Molasses and sugar were also stolen in great
quantities, and sold to persons making ginger drink; sugar-cakes,
as they are termed, which are composed of sugar, molasses,
ginger, and cocoa-nut, boiled up together; and many other
different sweets. Even persons who ought to have known better,
encouraged slaves in stealing, by buying of them sugar for
domestic purposes. This also called for the interposition of the
law; and slaves so offending were to be whipped, and sent to work
in the street-gang. I have mentioned the street-gang in a former
chapter; but it may be well to remark, that the slaves comprising
it were worked two and two together, by having an iron collar
round their necks, and connected by a chain, not exactly the size
and thickness of that formerly shewn in “Aldermanbury;”[7] but
rather like those used upon the convicts in the different
dockyards in England.

These were the most frequent offences of slaves. Those of a
higher degree, such as murders, and running away for more than
three months, were, as we have already seen, punished in a
severer manner. Although the slave-owner had redress by the laws
of the island, for all faults committed by his slaves, revolting
as it is to think of, there were some masters who thought
thirty-nine lashes[8] too mild a punishment for such crimes: they
would rather take the law into their own hands, and flog their
slaves by the hour. They liked to see mangled bodies,—to hear
heart-rending groans, and have the supreme felicity of ordering
them back to their dungeons, garnished, perhaps, with chains, as
in the case of Mr. ——. I have laid before my readers, or at least
endeavoured to do so, slaves’ crimes and slaves’ punishments; and
it is for them to say whether they deserved such severe
discipline. In another part I shall have to enlarge upon the
vices of negroes, and their perverseness of disposition; but it
now remains for me to give one or two more instances of cruelty;
and I will then banish from these pages the melancholy subject.

A gentleman of this island, as I have been made to understand,
had a female _mustee_[9] slave belonging to him. This slave
committed some misdemeanor, whether great or small I am unable to
say; but at all events, her master had her locked up for the
night in a place of horrors, called the “Rock Dungeon.” The woman
was in the last stage of pregnancy; in that place, removed from
all assistance, she was confined during the night; and when the
morning came, and that den of misery was opened, her poor baby
was found to be devoured by the rats! This deed was done by one
of our great men, an honourable too. It may be said, he could not
foresee the catastrophe, and the woman might have given him great
provocation, which no doubt she did; but still, would any humane
master have shut up a female in such a condition in such a place?
By the advice of the magistrates, this woman and her remaining
children were afterwards sold, as her master and herself could
never agree. This is not the only instance in which his name has
been brought before the public. Some strange reports were abroad
of his shooting one of his negro boys; and of his killing
another, and burying him in a pond. These circumstances were
brought before the slavery committee of the House of Lords in
1832; and in an examination of a divine, the rector of the parish
in which the gentleman resided, he was asked if he knew anything
about them? The Rev. Mr. —— returned for answer—“Yes, I heard a
report about them, but do not know if they were correct.” And
again—“I never heard of his killing a negro; but I heard of his
burying a white matross in the sand; but that was only hearsay. I
only heard of it from persons, perhaps, that were not his
friends. With regard to shooting a negro, he went and gave
himself up for that; and I believe he was acquitted, or the
coroner’s inquest brought in a verdict of ‘accidental death.’
There was some sort of a trial; but I believe there was a great
deal said about it, that probably he did not deserve,—I think
so.” This was the rector’s opinion: whether the gentleman alluded
to was guilty, is more than I can say; we can but hope he was
not. The matter rests between himself and his God; but if he did
act in this manner, if he was guilty of these deaths, conscience
must at times give him some sharp twinges.[10]

I have in a former page referred to the trial of a planter for
the murder of his slave. It did not occur in Antigua, I am happy
to say; but as Antiguan barristers pleaded for and against the
culprit, it may not be amiss to give a short account of it. The
offender against justice was a member of the council at Tortola;
and upon his estate in that island these horrible cruelties were
perpetrated. I cannot go into the details of the case, which were
most revolting in their circumstances; but will just give the
heads. This man—this vampire he might be called—was found guilty,
and executed upon the common gallows, for the murder of _one_ of
his slaves, a poor African; but there were eight other
indictments for murder ready made out against the same
individual, whose cruelty of disposition was proverbial.

“Prosper,” the name of the murdered man, was, as before remarked,
a poor African, one who, to use the words of the counsel for the
crown, “was murdered by the man, to promote whose interests the
strength of his youth was exhausted;” and his crime was, eating
one mango, which fell off a tree he was watching. For this one
fault, the poor fellow was whipped, until not one piece of black
skin was left upon him, from his hip to his hand; afterwards
ironed, and thrown into a loathsome dungeon. The next day he was
brought out and whipped again, because he had not six shillings
to pay his master, (the sum demanded for the eaten mango, that
would cost about three farthings sterling,) until nature was
exhausted, and he fainted. But he awoke to consciousness and
agony; the dungeon was again his refuge, and chained to two other
objects of misery, he passed that wretched night. Here he
remained five days, suffering unspeakable tortures; but at the
end of that time, these three miserable creatures contrived to
make their escape. Poor “Prosper,” however, was too near death to
go far; he crawled into his own hut, which was near, and after
lingering for a few days, expired,—a prey to the worms before the
last sigh had left his lips. When discovered, his remains were so
offensive, that a hole was dug at his hut door, he was shovelled
in, a little dirt thrown over, and he was left to repose in his
irons, until that great day, when master and slave must appear
before one bar.[11] Who can read this account without a deep
feeling of horror? What will my readers say when I further
mention, that when this monster was brought up under a writ of
habeas corpus, his lawyer, a barrister of Antigua, asserted, that
“it was no greater offence, in law, for an owner to kill his
slave, than it would be to kill his dog!”

Another cruel act of proprietors in those days was to brand the
negroes with their owner’s initials. This was done with a red-hot
iron, upon young and old, male and female. Indeed, altogether,
the negroes were treated more like cattle than human beings.
Before the abolition of the slave-trade, cargoes of from 100 to
200, and upwards, used frequently to be brought to this island.
When landed, they were generally in a state of nudity, with the
exception of strings of beads tied round them; and in this state
they remained until purchased. Upon the arrival of these cargoes
of “livestock,” the merchants sometimes made an offer for the
whole, and then retailed them out, should their offer be
accepted. At other times, the master or supercargo of the vessel
had them sold at public auction, or disposed of a part, and
carried the remainder to another market. Those merchants who
dealt principally in this commodity used to provide themselves
with a long room, for the reception of these poor creatures,
where they were placed all together, like so many horses or mules
—the floor being littered down with trash.[12] They were fed
twice a-day with rice, horse-beans, or cornflour; and every
morning and evening, they were placed in a rank, two and two
together, and driven to a pond to water. When persons wanted
negroes, they went to the slave-store, and had several brought
out to look at—made them skip, jump, run, and dance, to see if
they were strong, and their limbs in perfect order; and then, if
approved of, their price was paid in “paltry gold,” and they
became the property of a new master, a being like themselves,
only differing, perhaps, in the colour of their skin.

Montesquieu, an eminent French writer, speaking of the
unlawfulness of thus entrapping and selling these poor Africans,
says—“The strongest reason which can be given for using negroes
like beasts of burden is their having black skins and flat
noses.” Our own immortal Cowper, when writing upon this subject,
expresses himself in a similar manner:—

    “He finds the fellow guilty of a skin
    Not colour’d like his own; and, having power
    T’ enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
    Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.”

That men, fashioned by the hands of the same Creator, descended
from the same common parent, could thus buy and sell their
fellow-creatures just as they would a horse or a cow, seems
almost incredible. Future generations will, no doubt, be inclined
to discredit such a report, as the wild tale of some imaginary
mind. Even in this day, in this island, it causes surprise to
many to think they acted so; and the different paragraphs in an
old Antigua newspaper, which now lies before me, would appear
almost as strange to them as they do to me. Among the list of
imports for the week, in this old paper, are “_seven negroes_,
five casks of coffee, one bag of cotton, and an old copper
kettle!” Thinking of slavery as I do, I could almost say, with
the poet—

    “No! dear as freedom is, and in my heart’s
    Just estimation prized above all price,
    I had much rather be myself the slave,
    And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.”

I am aware that many people, speaking of the propriety of
slavery, argue in this manner—“Has it not existed since the days
of Noah? And did not the Almighty appear to sanction it then? Can
it be more unlawful now?” I grant, that it has existed since
those early days:—“A servant of servants shall he be unto his
brethren” was, I know, the curse of Canaan; but reasoners like
these should study the laws which the All-wise made for the
prevention of cruelty to the Hebrew slaves or servants. Let them
compare what slavery is, or rather what it was, with the slavery
of biblical history. “Rule not over him (the servant or slave)
with _rigour_ but fear thy God;” and again—“Harden not thine
heart, nor shut thine hand, for remember, he is thy _brother_.”
These were the words of One who cannot err. In all ages of the
world, man’s pride has made him love to domineer over his
fellows; and where it is allowed by law, there are many who would
rather have slaves to do their orders, than be at the trouble of
persuading their inferiors.

I am happy to say, I have never met with any ocular demonstration
of the successive cruelties I have been describing. It has been
my good fate to reside in Antigua when a milder spirit in general
seemed to actuate men; or if, in some of their bosoms, the demon
of persecution still kept his abode, shame prevented its making
its appearance. I have, it is true, heard the sound of the
driver’s whip, when the gang have been working; but it seemed to
be used as a kind of stimulant, like the crack of the carter’s
whip, when he drives his team, to urge on his horses.

I have seen a dungeon, but its only occupants were rats; I have
met with stocks and shackles, but they were thrown about as
useless lumber. Still, I have no doubt there have been cruelties
perpetrated here since my residence; but, thank God, I never
witnessed them. I have often heard the voice of childhood
supplicating mercy; it has been in the town, among the lower
classes, who have been chastising their little servant. I have
felt for the little creatures, as they begged for pardon; but
pity was all I could give them. But now, the case is altered:
slavery is no more—the whip is banished; and even the little
children will scarcely take a blow. I was amused the other day,
with a scene which took place before our dwelling: the actors, a
mother and her child. The mother had a small cane in her hand, as
if about to chastise her daughter, a child of about six years
old, who begged very hard for forgiveness. “Do, mammy, don’t lick
me; me beg your pardon, ma’am. Oh! don’t lick me, mammy; me no do
so no more.” The mother relented, and let go the child’s hands,
who, turning round immediately the fear of coercion was removed,
stamped her little foot upon the ground, and, raising her tiny
fist, exclaimed—“War you lick me for? Me free—me no b’longs to

I visited some few estates in this island during the latter years
of slavery, and I was happy to find that they were conducted
under a mild system, and the slaves appeared happy and contented.
At one of these, the proprietor seemed to be very much beloved by
his people; but he had an ear always open to their complaint; a
hand ever ready to minister to their wants; and under the free
system, his kindness as a slave-owner is not forgotten. This
gentleman is a magistrate; and at the time I am speaking of, he
had frequent complaints brought before him from the negroes of
the adjoining estates, for all negroes are very litigious. I am
sure he deserved credit for the patience with which he heard
their tiresome stories; and so the negroes appeared to think too,
for I have often heard them say to one another, when departing
from the house, “Wen me free, me come lib with dis massa; for if
eber dere one good massa in Antigua, he one.”

An instance deserves to be recorded of another planter, with whom
I have the honour to be acquainted; which proves there were
slave-masters whose hearts were not of adamant; who could be kind
to the poor creatures so entirely under their control; and that
some marks of gratitude and affection could be shewn by a
_slave_. In 1831, the island was in a very unsettled state, from
abolishing the Sunday markets, and not appointing another day for
the negroes to bring their provisions into town to sell. Constant
fires occurred on different estates; no sooner was one
extinguished, than another was discovered. The militia was on
duty night and day; and serious alarm was abroad for the safety
of the island.

The gentleman alluded to was attorney for several estates; the
one he resided upon was a very large property, belonging to Sir
George Thomas, and possessed a gang of about 250 negroes. His
militia duty called him to a distance, and he was obliged to
leave his wife and children, surrounded by all the slaves: how
far the spirit of mutiny and disaffection had crept in among
them, he was unable to say.

Whilst these thoughts were passing in his mind, and of course
rendering him very uneasy, a few of the head slaves upon the
plantation waited upon him. I cannot give the precise words they
made use of, but they were to this effect: “Master, you have
always been very kind to us, to our wives, and to our children;
you have never given us harsh language, or cruel beatings; and
while we did our work orderly and quietly, you have been most
indulgent to us. Master, we thank you for it, we feel grateful,
very grateful; and we here solemnly pledge ourselves to guard
with our lives your wife, your children, and your property, as
you have guarded us and ours.” The attorney trusted the negroes;
he left the estate; and he found them act as they had promised.
Oh, if anything can gild the dark picture of slavery, such
instances as these will; and in these days of freedom, such men
can lay their heads upon their pillows with ease, and bless God,
that in the day of power, they were kept from exercising undue
severity upon their defenceless slaves.


[7] The office of the Anti-slavery Society.

[8] By the Mosaic law, criminals were not to receive more than
forty stripes at one time, and for one offence; but that there
might be no fear of breaking the commandment, the Jews were in
the habit of giving one _less_ than the allowed number. Their
whips were made with three thongs, or tails, and with this
instrument the criminals received thirteen stripes, making the
number of blows thirty-nine. Now the implement used for whipping
negroes was a _cat_, with _nine_ tails; and as thirty-nine lashes
were given with it, the poor slaves received altogether 351
stripes at one time—a humane punishment, it must be allowed!

[9] See Chapter XLIII.

[10] From Anti-slavery Reports.

[11] It was customary in those days to bury negroes upon the
estate to which they belonged, the burying-ground being generally
near their houses.

[12] Dry leaves of the sugar-cane.

                         CHAPTER XXXII.

  Negroes: The assertion that negroes are careless of all
  domestic ties confuted by anecdotes—“Shadows” of negro
  character—Excuses for them—Conversion to Christianity—Belief of
  the Africans that after death they shall return to Africa—
  Instance of it—Africans and Creoles—Superstitions—Obeah.

Since writing the preceding chapter, it has been represented to
me, that I have painted slavery in too gloomy colours,
particularly the parting of husband and wife, parent and
children, by sale; that the negroes are an unfeeling race; that
parental or connubial affections are seldom felt by them; or if
experienced at all, it is but very partially. As a proof of this,
it is said that in Africa husbands will sell their wives and
children, brothers their sisters, mothers their daughters, for a
mere trifle. I am aware that such has been the case, particularly
in times of scarcity, when part of a family has been disposed of
to provide food for the rest. The Capuchin friars, in their
mission to Congo, mention, that one day hearing a man making a
great outcry, and saying, “I have no wife, no child, no brother!
Miserable wretch that I am! I once had all these, but I sold
them;” they asked him the reason for his acting so. “To purchase
drink,” was the reply; “and if I had them again, I should do the
same.” But this is a single circumstance; possibly, such an utter
want of feeling would not be found in the rest of the tribe. Why
_should_ not love pervade the breast of the black as well as the
white? That it does do so, may be proved by many pathetic

A master of slaves in Kingston, Jamaica, owned a negro who was
the mother of two fine little boys. Being in want of cash, the
master disposed of one. The poor mother, in the agony of maternal
feeling at having her offspring thus turned from her, made a
hideous lamentation; and for this crime, as it was termed, her
owner commanded her to receive a severe flogging. She had still
one, however, left, and she would sit for hours, holding it in
her arms, and pouring upon its unconscious ear her tale of
sorrow. But alas! the spoiler came again: her master wanted more
money, and regardless of the heart-rending cries of the
distracted mother, who begged him not to take her last, her
best-beloved, the child was sold. This utter bereavement “turned
her heart within her,” and caused “the light of madness” to
kindle in her eye.

A short time ago, I was speaking to an old woman whom I knew when
she was a slave upon McKinnon’s estate; and among other
questions, I asked her, “Juncho,” (her name,) “are you happier
now than when you was a slave—are you better off now than you was
then? or would you be satisfied to return to slavery, and become
once more the property of your old master?“ “Missis,” returned
the poor old creature, “me no going to tell ’tory, me ’peak de
truth; me no better off now den me war den, nor no so well self;
for den me hab house and garden, an me could raise ’tock,
(meaning poultry, &c.,) an plant yam, an pittates, (potatoes,) an
green, an ebery ting else; and now me free, me hab notting.” “And
where is your house now?” I asked, to hear what she would say.
“Why, wen August com, massa call me, and he say, Me no want you
to lib here no more; you no good to work, you must go, me want
your house to gib to one oder somebody dats ’trong; no ole like
you; and you garden me want. So you know, missis, me forced to
go; so me come to town wid me daughter, and me lib wid she, for
me can do but lilly work now.” “Then you would rather be a slave
again?” “Oh, no, missis, me no want to be slabe gen, me sure. God
made me free—God put it in buckra heart to set me free, an me
bless God for it; me no want to be slabe gen.” “But I understood
you, that you were better off in the time of slavery—that you had
many comforts then that you cannot obtain now, and yet you tell
me you do not want to be a slave again—tell me the reason.”
“Well, missis, it true me better off den dan me am now, for since
me free, me no get much; sometimes me no eat bread all day, for
me daughter hab so many pic’nees (children) she no able to gib me
much; but den me no me free; me no God gib me free, and slabery
is one bad something sometimes.” I went on to ask her what she
meant by a “bad something,” for I was anxious to know what the
negroes thought of slavery and freedom. “S’pose, den,” said
Juncho, “s’pose you hab one pic’nee, dat pic’nee sick; well, he
put in de sick house; me ’bliged to go field, me want to go see
me sick pic’nee, but me no must go, me hab to work till ebening
’praps; wen work done, me go see me poor sick pic’nee, but me
must no ’top wid he. Me hab make haste go; den me pic’nee say,
‘Mammy, ’top wid me, no go, mammy:’ but me forced to go and leabe
me poor pic’nee. Den ’gen, missis, ’praps me pic’nee do something
bad, something he no ought to do, and massa take he and tie he
two hands up to one tree, else he make two men ’tretch he upon de
ground, an den de driber lick he so, an me cry to see him lick
so, and me pic’nee bawl, but me no dare say, ‘Don’t do so, massa;
let him go,’ but me hab to go way and lebe he dere; so you see,
missis, dat make me say me no lub slabery. Now wen me noung, me
hab to work hard, hab dig cane hole, weed cane, pick grass, do
ebery ting; but now me ole, and no able to work, dey take away me
house, ’cause me no b’longs to dem, but den me no me free, and me
bless God me am free.” This was Juncho’s tale: it proves negroes
do feel for their relations when in trouble, or suffering from
illness; but with regard to her being turned out of her house
after freedom, I think is not quite correct, for I never heard of
an Antiguan planter doing so. Perhaps all of her children who
could be of any service to the estate, by working upon the
property, quitted it, and the manager might have told her, that
if they did not return, she must leave too.

Another instance, which illustrates the doctrine that negroes do
feel affection towards each other, is related by one who used to
frequent the slave markets. One day, going his rounds, he saw two
fine intelligent-looking youths, with their arms clasped tightly
round each other, and being pleased with their appearance, he
went up, and asked the price of the eldest of the two. After some
talk, the bargain was completed, and the negro became the
property of his new master.

While this business was going on between the buyer and seller,
the youths looked on with the deepest feeling of attention
depicted upon their sable faces. When the younger perceived that
his companion was about to be led away from him, he clung to him
with almost supernatural strength. Suddenly he released his hold,
sprang up, for he had thrown himself down upon his knees,
commenced jumping with all his might, dancing, and putting
himself into a thousand different attitudes, to shew his strength
and the pliancy of his limbs, in hopes the purchaser would take
him also. All, however, was of no avail, and his sorrowing friend
in affliction was about to be led away; when the poor fellow, as
if to try the last resort, flew up to the gentleman, threw his
arms around him, and with the most expressive looks of agony,
seemed to beseech his pity. Nature has not made every one
insensible to the voice of woe; he saw and felt for the boy’s
grief, and he lightened the bands of slavery by buying them both.

Another anecdote is related by a resident of Nevis, who had
occasion to purchase some slaves, and accordingly, upon the
arrival of a Guinea ship with a cargo of negroes, he went to
inspect them. As they appeared strong and active, Mr. —— made a
bargain for a certain number. After the lapse of some months,
finding that he wanted an increase of hands to carry on the work
of the estate, and another cargo having arrived, he visited the
capital, and purchased a further supply of negroes, which were
also conducted to his plantation. Upon their arrival, the former
lot came forward to welcome the new comers; and amongst the
number a young negress, who, when she had looked upon a female of
about the same age as herself, suddenly started, her lips
quivered with emotion, her eyes glistened, and then, as if fully
assured, she started forward, and threw her arms around the neck
of the girl who had attracted her attention, and who had been
similarly affected, and burst into a flood of tears. Tenderly and
fervently did these children of nature embrace each other, long
did their mutual tears flow, until, when they had partly regained
their composure, their master asked if they had known each other
in Africa. In a voice of joy which vibrated upon every heart, the
one who had first arrived, and who had acquired a little English,
replied—“Oh, massa, she me own dear sissy!”

In many instances the character of the negroes is very bad—
sullen, obstinate, and revengeful, given to lying, stealing, and
deceit. Still I do not so much attribute this to their pristine
state, as I do to the way in which they have formerly been
treated. The Africans, torn from their native country and all
their former connexions, made to work beneath a broiling sun
harder than they were ever accustomed to do, beaten for the
slightest fault, and scorned as the meanest reptile, could form,
it is to be supposed, no very favourable opinion of their
masters. Memory would at times transport them home; again, in
fancy, would they roam their native wilds, or with their
well-known companions rouse the tawny lion from his lair, or
chase the fleet-footed antelope. Once more would the song be
heard, once more, in imagination, would they join the festive
dance beneath the spreading branches of some noble mimosa; but in
the midst of this joyous scene, the voice of the overseer would
be heard, or the crack of the driver’s whip dissolve their airy
castles, and they would return to despondency and despair.

Ignorant of the God that made them, and of the mild doctrines of
Christianity, no wonder the dark spirit of revenge took
possession of their breasts. The feelings of the parents were
naturally enough inculcated into the minds of their children, and
this, strengthened, perhaps, by harsh treatment from their
owners, has conspired to render the negro character, in great
measure, what I am sorry to say it is.

But we ought now to look for brighter days: a great deal has been
done for the negroes, much even before emancipation; schools have
been erected in all parts of the island, and instruction
proffered, both to young and old. The labours of the Moravian and
Wesleyan missionaries have, without doubt, done a great deal of
good to society at large by teaching the divine truths to the
black population, and striving to make them learn the important
fact that they have something else to look for besides the
gratification of the present moment. As an episcopalian myself, I
feel sorry that the church of England should have been less
forward some years ago in their labour of love. True it is there
has been, from the time these missionaries first came to the
island, up to the present, a great number of churches and
parsons. But of these, few, I am sorry to say, practised the pure
doctrine they pretended to preach; indeed, many openly denied by
their lives what they taught with their lips: their motto was—“Do
as I say, not as I act;” which conduct, although it ought not to
make religion less respected, has, in a great measure, a tendency
to that effect among all classes. “For how,” would many exclaim,
“could they enforce the seventh commandment when they wilfully
broke it?—or teach a proper respect to the ordinances of God,
when (as some have been known to do) they have left a card-table
to read the service at church, and then returned to finish their
game?” But those days have passed away: Antigua now possesses
another race of clergymen very different to those alluded to; men
of pious lives, and of ardent desire to further the cause of
Christianity. The rector of St. John’s, the Rev. R. Holberton, is
an evangelical preacher, and has proved a great acquisition to
the island. This gentleman is one who does not preach for the
sake of the _loaves and fishes_ alone, but strives to do his duty
as an humble follower of his divine Master. To his talents as an
orator, he adds the more sterling quality of earnest zeal in his
vocation, evinced by the bright example he sets, of joining
practice to precept. His discourses are not in that flowery style
which, working upon the feelings and imagination, produces but a
transitory impression; he rather strives to speak to the heart
than please the ear. Like a skilful surgeon, he probes the wound
he hopes to heal, and then offers the “balm of Gilead,” and binds
it up with the essence of love. I once more beg pardon of my
readers for my digressions; but I could not let the opportunity
pass, without noticing the great difference between the former
race of clergymen and those of the present day; I will now return
to my more immediate subject—the outlines of the negro character.

Before their conversion to Christianity, the Africans firmly
believed that after death they would return to Africa, and there
enjoy uninterrupted felicity. Under this idea, suicide was very
frequent among them, particularly when they fell to the share of
an austere and cruel master. But now this imagination is almost
lost sight of: they are taught so to live, that, after death,
they may inherit a better land than Africa: still I have met with
some of the old people who seemed to entertain the opinion.

A short time previous to emancipation, I remember talking with a
negro who fostered this belief. He was rather a remarkable
personage: when in the prime of manhood, he must have possessed
great strength, if we may judge from height and breadth. His
cheeks, arms, and back of his hands, were deeply tattooed with
different devices; his complexion was of a clear black, and his
countenance very intelligent; nor had he that remarkable flatness
of nose and thickness of lips by which the natives of Guinea are
so particularly distinguished. He told me he had been “long
’nough” in the West Indies, (which phrase I found, by inquiry,
extended to about four and twenty years,) and that he was a
prince in his own country—brother, I think I understood him, to
the King of Benguela, or something he pronounced very much like
it; that, during a war with a neighbouring tribe, he was taken
prisoner, sold to some merchants at Calabar, from whom he was
purchased, with several others, by the captain of a slaver, and
brought to the West Indies. Several persons whom he knew were on
board the same vessel, but that they all died, with the exception
of one woman. I afterwards saw this female, who confirmed him in
the report of being a great man among his countrymen, where, she
said, she could not speak to him, from her inferior station in
life. Poor fellow; aged, (for I suppose he must have been about
seventy,) infirm, and miserable—brought from comparative
affluence to poverty, from governing others, to be himself a
slave;—the tear of pity would not be restrained.

The circumstances under which I became acquainted with him
excited also my sympathy. The estate had been, for a long time,
robbed of its ground provisions, and to discover, if possible,
the offenders, the owner had given orders not to distribute to
the negroes their usual share of salt food, until the guilty
parties confessed their crime. This poor old man came up to the
“great house”[13] one morning to beg the owner’s lady to
intercede with “his massa” for him, that he might have some
herrings to eat with his potatoes; “For,” said he, “me ole now,
missis—me want something to ’trengthen me; do, missis, beg massa
gib me lilly salt provision.” His tremulous voice, as it broke
upon my ear, called my attention to him, and thus caused the

Seeing that I pitied him, he continued, “But now me ole, me soon
go hom—me no ’top much longer to trouble me massa!” I asked him
what he meant, and where was his home. “To me own country—to
Africa!” he replied, the “light of other days” beaming, for a
moment, in his eyes.—“What! now you are so _old_? You have less
chance of returning there than you ever had.”—“Oh! missis, you no
sabby, (understand.) Me mean me die soon, an’ den me go home—den
me happy, den me hab no mo’ work, no sick no mo’, no hungry no
mo’; me ole bone no ache den, but me get ’trong den an’ happy
too!” Poor fellow! before this he must have gone “home;” a better
home than even Africa I hope he may have found it, for

    “Though earth has full many a beautiful spot,
    As a poet or painter may shew;
    Yet more lovely and beautiful, holy and bright,
    To the hopes of the heart, and the spirit’s delight,
    Is the land that no mortal may know.”

There are not many Africans now in Antigua who were brought there
as slaves, they having principally died off, but there are a
great many who have been captured in slavers, and brought here by
some of her majesty’s ships, who have been made free, after
serving an apprenticeship of some years. These persons are termed
by the Creole negroes _Willeyforce nagers_, (Wilberforce,) and
between them are constant bickerings—the Creole blacks looking
upon themselves as so far superior. Whenever they meet and enter
into conversation, it generally terminates in a quarrel; and at
such times, the actions they make with their hands, and the
clamour of their tongues, would almost lead you to imagine murder
was intended. The African has generally the advantage over the
Creole in garrulity; but when this is perceived by the other
party, he exerts all his energies, “works up each corporal agent
to the terrible feat,” elevates his voice to the pitch of a
bagpipe, throws aloft his arms, and, with fire-flashing eyes and
quivering lips, exclaims—“You, _you Willeyforce nager, you!_”
This is decisive; the African is stunned; and, with crest-fallen
brow, goes his way, and leaves the ground to the victor.

I am now about to enter upon my “shadows” of negro character; and
as I have not screened the master, neither can I gloss over the
faults of the servant, or slave. The most predominant trait in
their character is superstition; indeed, there never was a race
so universally inclined to this weakness. What is called _Obeah_,
has existed since the first introduction of negroes into these
islands; it is one of those dark and fearful practices which they
brought with them from Africa, where the devil is still openly
worshipped, and temples built to his honour. Few English people
can have any idea of the dreadful extent to which the practice of
Obeah was carried in the West Indies, in former days. It led the
unhappy followers of it on, from one crime to another, until the
gallows was too often their end. Many, and many a one, has sunk
into a premature grave, from the awful dread of Obeah hanging
over them. These Obeah men and women are supposed to have entered
into a league with the spirit of darkness, and by his aid are
enabled to bring hidden things to light, and do many other
marvellous actions; and to offend one of these person was, they
thought, to seal their doom.

At one time, poisoning was so frequent a crime among these
followers of Obeah, that in the year 1809, it required the strong
arm of the law to subdue it. The old people are acquainted with
many of the wild plants indigenous in the country; and they often
recommend them as specifics in certain diseases. They also appear
equally familiar with those plants which yield poison. When
irritated with denials of what they wished for, or suffering from
jealousy, or any other strong passion, instances have been known
of the negroes applying to these Obeah people, and, for a small
sum, receiving from them one of their deadly draughts, so
prepared as to render death either almost immediate, or, as was
most common, lingering.

I heard of an instance of this nature occurring in Antigua during
my stay there. I cannot take upon myself to vouch for its
authenticity, as it does not appear there were sufficient grounds
of complaint against the suspected parties, to warrant their
apprehension; I will, however, give the report then current in
the island. An English gentleman, a native of Huntingdonshire,
resided upon a property about eight miles from the capital, of
which he was the manager. Upon one occasion, he had the favour
asked him, by a female belonging to the estate, to give her a
bason of milk; which request, from some reason or the other, was
refused. The matter passed off, and no more was thought about it
by the manager. A short time afterwards, he received an anonymous
scrawl, warning him to be careful of what he ate or drank. This
production was treated, as most anonymous ones ought to be, with
contempt. Another note was received, and met with no more
attention than the former. At length, sorrow came within his
door; his son, a boy of about fourteen, strong and full of life
and joy, suddenly fell ill, death claimed his prey, and he was
consigned to an early tomb. This melancholy duty was but just
performed, when his sister, a laughter-loving girl of twelve
years, fell a victim to that all-conquering monster; and but a
few more revolving suns, and the younger sister also departed for
“that bourne from whence no traveller returns.” Whether any _post
mortem_ examination of the bodies took place I am unable to say,
but report attributed their deaths to the milk they used being

This terrible crime does not, it is true, rage to the extent it
once did; but even in these days of freedom, Obeah men and women
are still to be met with, and many negroes consult them when they
have lost anything, are suffering from protracted pain, or when
they wish to injure any one they may have quarrelled with. One of
the Antiguan magistrates related to me the following
circumstance, which had recently occurred. A man who had formerly
lived with him as groom, but who for some time past had suffered
severely from an ulcerated leg, brought a complaint before him,
against another of his sex. It appeared the defendant was one who
practised Obeah, to increase his worldly store; and the other
poor fellow, ignorant, and depressed in spirit from the almost
incurable state of his leg, was induced to apply to him for
advice. The Obeah man agreed to cure him, provided he received
ten dollars for his pains. This the infirm man was unable to do,
but said he had a surtout and a pair of black trousers at home,
and if he would take them in place of the money, he would go and
fetch them. The offer was accepted by the conjuror, the surtout
and trousers were put into his hands, and the ceremony commenced.
The diseased man was ordered to seat himself upon the ground,
while Mr. Conjuror took a calabash of some liquid, and poured it
upon his head, rubbed it very hard, and then putting his mouth to
that part called the “crown of the head,” sucked it for some
time, and producing a tooth, said he had extracted it by those
means, and that his leg would soon get well. Some weeks having
elapsed, and the limb still continuing in the same state, the man
began to think he had been imposed upon, and consequently brought
the case before the magistrate, in hopes of getting his surtout
and trousers returned.

The negroes, with but few exceptions, firmly believe the Obeah
people can insert different articles, such as pieces of glass
bottles, old rags, nails, stones, &c., into the flesh of those
they dislike, and that the afflicted are obliged to get one of
the same craft to relieve them.

I once heard a servant of mine relating a circumstance to a group
of sable listeners, which illustrates this subject. His wife had
lost a gown for sometime, and could not account for its strange
disappearance. Soon after she experienced very odd sensations,
but was unable to say what was the matter with her. In her
distress she applied to the negro doctress upon the estate, but
could receive no relief from her, until at length one of her
friends advised her to consult an old Obeah woman who resided
near, and to her she accordingly went. As soon as this Obeah
woman saw her, she informed her she had “enemies,” and it was
from their machinations all her illness proceeded; but that if
she would come to her again on a certain day, she would consult
“Obeah” about it, and, by his assistance, conjure the evil things
out of her, provided she brought “all the money she could
procure.” At the appointed time the woman attended, and after
many mysterious rites had been performed, the necromancer
proceeded apparently to draw out of the sufferer’s arms and legs,
pieces of the gown she had lost, various sized pieces of glass,
parts of an old shoe, and many other similar articles. This was
related with the utmost seriousness of countenance, and no doubt
firmly believed in by the reciter. One of the party asked if his
wife derived any benefit. “Why,” said John, “she say she do, but
me no no; me no see she look much better; hab to pay plenty money
tho’; Obeah no like it if yo no gib much.”

Another practice of these Obeah people is to dig a hole before
the door of a house where the resident is obnoxious to them, and
in it place their favourite commodities—old rags and pieces of
glass bottle. If the person for whose injury these articles are
intended, unconsciously passes over, their health decays, or else
they will never be better off in the world than they were at that
day. This the negroes also firmly believe; and so true is the old
proverb, “Fancy kills and fancy cures,” that many, knowing such
charm has been practised upon them, have taken it to heart, and
in a short time died.

It has ever been customary, and in these days of freedom it is
not discontinued, to give the negroes upon the different estates,
a plot of ground to plant provisions in, independent of their
wages. The “negro-ground,” as it is called, is frequently
situated at some distance from their houses, and consequently,
when its different productions are ripe, it is extremely liable
to be robbed. To prevent this as far as possible, it is customary
to go to an Obeah person, and, for a certain sum, obtain from
them a bottle, partly filled with some mysterious mixture,[14] or
else a piece of charmed wood, which they hang up in their grounds
over against where their provisions are growing. This generally
has the desired effect, for daring indeed must be that person who
would steal those articles under the protection of Obeah.


[13] Proprietor’s residence.

[14] I have been lately favoured with the sight of an “Obeah
bottle,” which was picked up a few weeks ago by J. Fairclough,
Esq., a gentleman of Antigua, at his residence, the grounds of
which are washed by the sea. The bottle has evidently been
immersed in the water for some period, from the number of
barnacles formed upon it, as also from the appearance of the
cork. Its principal contents are two large nails, a bent pin, a
few minute shells, and a conglomeration of substances of which I
can give no correct statement. It is filled with a dark liquid,
which stains the bottle, and gives the idea of something deadly;
but it may only arise from the action of acids upon the iron

                        CHAPTER XXXIII.

  Negroes: Superstition—Trials by ordeal—Flower-fence—Bible and
  key—A way to recover stolen property—Charm to prevent a
  scolding tongue—Jumbies—A night’s adventure—The soldier’s last
  jump—Jumbies calls—Betsey, the nurse—The haunted house—A cure—
  The drowning boys—The murdered woman—The jumby’s revenge.

In the former chapter I endeavoured to give some description of
the doctrine of Obeah. There are also several mysterious rites
current among the negroes on which they rely to find out a thief.
One of these trials by ordeal is thus performed: they procure
some of the leaves of the “flower-fence,” or “Barbados’ pride,”
(called by the negroes “doodle doo,”) and lay them in a heap, in
some peculiar manner, with a black dog (not a quadruped, but a
small copper coin of about three farthings sterling, current in
this island a few years ago) in the middle. They do not tie this
bundle together, but by the manner in which it is placed they are
enabled to raise it to the neck of the suspected person without
its falling to pieces. The accused is then to say, (holding the
bundle under their throat at the same time,) “Doodle doo, doodle
doo, if me tief de four dog, (or what- ever it may be that is
missing,) me wish me tongue may loll out of me mout.” If nothing
takes place, the person is innocent, and the charm is tried upon
another, until the guilty one’s turn comes, when immediately
their tongue hangs out of their mouth against their will.

Another trial by ordeal (which, I believe, has formerly been
practised in England, and has probably been taught them by the
whites) is thus performed:—A door-key is placed between the
leaves of the Bible, upon the 18th and 19th verses of the 50th
Psalm, and the book is then bound tightly round so that the key
cannot fall out; care must be taken at the same time that the key
is sufficiently large, that after being placed upon the verses
mentioned, part of the handle or bole may be left out. Two
persons, the accused and accuser, balance the bound book by
placing the first finger of the right hand under the bole of the
key, and in this situation make use of the following incantation,
(as I suppose I must call it:) “By St. Peter, by St. Paul, you
tief me hog,” (or whatever else it may be that is stolen;) the
accused answers, “By St. Peter, by St. Paul, me no tief you hog;”
this is repeated thrice by both parties. If the accused is
guilty, the key immediately turns, but if not, the charm is tried
upon all who are suspected, until the event takes place. What St.
Peter or St. Paul have to do with this, I could never learn, but
to me it seems very shocking to make a conjuring book of the
Bible. In respect to this part of superstition, the negroes are
like the natives of the east, who never lose anything without
trying some charm, either by balls of wax, grains of rice, or
something similar.[15] There is another curious way by which the
negroes endeavour to recover their stolen property. For example:
If they lose a fowl or a pig, or indeed any other article, and
they suspect it is stolen by their neighbours, they walk up and
down the street, calling out, “Let go me fowl—let go me fowl! If
you no let go me fowl, me tro grabe durtty upon you. Let go me
fowl, me say!” If the person who stole the fowl hears this
denunciation, he immediately looses it, in terror of the
consequences; but if the threat is not attended to, the owner of
the lost biped takes a dog (the same copper coin I have before
mentioned) and an egg, and proceeds to a burial-ground. Here they
look out for the grave of one of their friends, and depositing
the dog and the egg, make use of an incantation, and taking up a
little of the soft mould off the grave, depart. This mould, or
_grabe durtty_, as they term it, they sprinkle all about in those
streets where they think the suspected parties are more likely to
walk, believing, that if the thief passes over it, it immediately
causes his body to swell, and no medicine can give relief—death
alone can end their misery. So terrible to the negroes is the
denunciation, “Me tro grabe durtty upon you,” that if possible,
they will restore the goods pilfered to the last particle.

They have several other charms, all of which they deem
infallible. When they fancy they are under the power of Obeah,
they procure a snake, kill and skin it; when the skin is
thoroughly dried, they bind it round their leg, and feel easier
in mind, supposing the one charm will counteract the other.
Again, if sent out of an errand, and they loiter about, to
prevent any scolding from their employers, they pick a blade of a
peculiar species of grass, and place it under their tongue, which
they believe has the power of preventing any angry words. This
also is done when they wish to escape punishment or detection.

I am aware that it is not the negroes alone who are given to
superstition—to using charms and observing omens; the Greeks and
Romans were famous for this practice; and in my own country,
among the lower classes, most of the old women have a cramp-bone
in their pockets, to drive away pains; the tip of a tongue, or a
stone with a hole in it, for luck; and a horseshoe nailed to the
door, to prevent the entrance of witches. Our seamen, too, are
strict disciples of superstition, and rear her many an altar. I
once heard a captain of a merchantman who trades to Antigua,
speaking of this subject, and laughing at the generality of
sailors for paying attention to this or that omen. “I don’t
believe in anything of the kind,” said he. “What can a dolphin,
or a Mother Cary’s chicken, (the stormy petrel,) have to do with
a gale of wind? It’s nonsense,—altogether nonsense. Of course,
though, it would be only a madman _who would whistle in a storm_
or sail on a Friday, if they could possibly help it!” I wished to
ask what poor Friday[16] had done, or if Eolus disliked

All superstitious people, in every part of the world, are prone
to believe in the existence of imaginary beings; and while the
English have their ghosts, the Scotch their brownies, and the
Irish their banshees, the negroes have their jumby.[17] These
creatures, like all of their class, love to frequent churchyards,
lonely roads, and the margin of ponds. They are represented by
the believers in this creed to be very revengeful and malicious;
strangling children, knocking down people, frightening old women
into fits, and indeed, doing all the mischief they can. I have
heard that “Spring Gardens,” the part of the town we reside in,
is a favourite spot for their ambulations; but I cannot say I
have as yet formed any acquaintance with these _fleshless_
beings. Many are the tales related of their exploits,—tales more
terrible than that of the poor ghost in “Hamlet,” whose “lightest
word would harrow up the soul.” But as I have too much love for
my readers, to wish to “freeze their blood,” and all those other
dreadful threats his ghostship promised his hopeful son, I will
merely relate a few little incidents about these night-loving

A servant who once lived with us had occasion to go a few miles
into the country after dark. Upon his return the next day, he
gave the following most frightful account of his night’s
adventure. He said, that after getting a little way out of the
town, a string of jumbies met him, dressed all in white, who held
up their bony fingers at him in a menacing manner. He was very
much alarmed, he said, but determined to proceed as fast as he
could, without looking behind him; for if by any chance he had
happened to turn his head, they would have immediately strangled
him. Finding they could not get this advantage over him, they
went behind him, and “whispered soft and low”—“James! James!”
Although not over-pleased at this salutation, he thought it best
to bear it in silence, and hurry on as fast as he could.

At length he came to a pond, known by the name of “Tom Long’s
Pond,” which is always reckoned a favourite resort for jumbies—a
kind of Vauxhall of theirs, I suppose. Here he met with another
troop, who joined their comrades in tormenting him, until our
poor benighted traveller hardly knew what to do. Fear overcame
him, the perspiration streamed from off his brow, and his
excessive emotion caused “each particular hair to stand on end,
like quills upon the fretful porcupine.” In this awful situation,
he remembered, that if he dispossessed himself of his upper
garment, turned it before the jumbies’ faces, and then put it on
again, wrong side out, they could not hurt him. He tried this
remedy; and as soon as his dress was altered, his unpleasant
companions gave a loud scream, fled from him in every direction,
and left him to prosecute his walk in silence and solitude.

This is James’s version of the circumstance. I, who was an
unknown, but attentive listener, could not help asking (so
wishful was I of gaining information upon this _important_
subject) if there was any great merit in turning his coat. “Oh,
yes!” was the reply; “jumbies can never hurt you, if you can only
have strength to turn your jacket.” So, it appears, that whatever
may be the character of jumbies in other respects, they shew
their good sense in disliking _turncoats_.

During the first few weeks of my residence in this island, I was
staying upon an estate a few miles from the capital. Having for
some length of time seen nothing but the “sky above and the sea
below,” it may be imagined how happy I was once more to tread
_terra firma_; and I lost no time in exploring this, to me, new
world. In these rambles, I was attended by my servant, a
rosy-cheeked English girl, who gave utterance to her surprise at
tropical scenes and tropical customs, in like sentences to these:
“Lawk, ma’am!” “Well, I never!” “Lawk-a-daisy-me!” One day we
wandered far and wide; and after many devious routes, my
attention was at last attracted by the appearance of a cluster of
trees. I am very fond of these ornaments of the vegetable world;
I love to watch the play of the sunbeams upon their leaves—to
listen to the melody of the gentle gale, as it whispers among
them; and when in this “far, far west,” they greeted my eye with
their verdant foliage, I was anxious to make their acquaintance.
Upon a nearer approach, I found they formed a complete fringe to
a kind of rivulet; they were mangroves, and very beautiful they
looked. We walked by the side of them for some distance, and at
length came upon the high-road, which crosses the rivulet. Here
we fell in with a few larger trees, of a different species; and
near to them was a spring of water. A soothing silence reigned
around, occasionally broken by the murmuring of the breeze, the
buzzing of those pigmies of the feathered race—the humming-birds,
or the coo of the ground-doves, those constant frequenters of all
sylvan spots. Now and then, the faint hum of human voices broke
upon the ear, as the slaves were returning from the cane-fields,
it being near the close of the day.

Altogether, I was quite pleased with the spot, and hardly knew
how to leave it. As I was returning to the house, with “pensive
steps and slow,” I overtook the driver, one of the head slaves
upon the property. With the native politeness which many negroes
possess, he pulled off his hat, with “How d’ye, missis?” his
black sparkling eyes, his white teeth glistening through his
thick lips, his ebon complexion, and his large straw hat,
rendered him quite a novelty to me. I remarked to him, what a
pretty spot the spring was situated in, and thought it must be
very serviceable to the estate. “Yes, missis,” rejoined he; “it
one pretty ’pring ’nough; but me no like to go dere much at
night.” I asked the reason; it brought the following tale:—“Some
time aback, one soger buckra run away from de barracks. He was
gone long time, till at last sombody go tell upon he where he go
hide. De soger cappen send two oder sogers to go look for he, an
bring he to town; bery well, dey find he, an was going to fetch
he back to town, when, just as he get to dis ’pring, ’fore de
oder sogers no war he go do, he jump, bram! right into de ’pring;
an by de time dey manage to get he out, he go dead; so eber since
dat time, jumbies come see soger’s jumby, an dey ’top here an
make dance; so we no lub to come here much self.”

A similar circumstance has been related to me by the attorney of
the estate. A negro belonging to the property, who for several
months had given way to idle, dissolute habits, at length so far
forgot himself as to become a runaway. After being absent for
some time, intelligence was brought to the attorney that he had
been seen skulking about the capital; and accordingly, other
negroes were despatched to endeavour to find him and bring him
back to the estate. Their undertaking proved successful, the
runaway was secured, and the party set out upon their journey
home. Upon the road the man remarked—“He wished he could die, for
he had no cause to run away, and he should be ashamed to meet his
friends, for he knew not what excuse to make,” and proceeded in
this strain until gaining the “spring,” at the entrance of the
estate; he gave a sudden start, and before his companions were
aware of his intentions, he had leaped into the water. By the
time assistance could be procured, the man was dead; and his
friends had the melancholy office of burying his swollen corpse.

The negroes have an idea, that if a jumby calls them, and they
return an answer, they will very soon die. I have often called a
servant by name at night, and could get no answer, when I was
well aware they must have heard me; and upon asking them the
reason have had the following reply given me—“Me no no, missis,
it was you; me tink it one jumby calling me.”

If a child is born with a caul it is preserved with religious
veneration. My milk-woman came to see me one day with her two
little babies; the little creatures had each a small black bag
tied round their necks with a piece of black ribbon. I asked the
mother what this was for; she said they were both born with
cauls, and that if it was not always kept near them, the jumbies
would strangle them the first time they were left alone; nor was
this all, for if they did not wear it upon their persons, they
would see the jumby (or spirit) of every one that died.

I mourned to think how superstition prevailed in these parts,
what then was my surprise upon soon after taking up an English
newspaper of late date, to see the, following advertisement:—“A
child’s caul to be disposed of, _a well-known preventive against
drowning, &c. Price, ten guineas._ Address, post-paid, to A. B.
C., to the care of Mr. Evans, Hyde Park newspaper-office, 42,
Edgware Road!”

Had I not seen and read this myself, I could not have believed
it. While we write and talk of the superstition of the negroes,
although we mourn that its influence should extend so far, yet
there is greater allowance to be made for them from want of
education; but that such an enlightened people as the English
should put such an advertisement in a public paper is almost
incredible. A certain preventive against drowning!—why,
superstition in her gala days could not have furnished a more
striking instance of her power! That any rational creature should
believe such an assurance is astonishing. I firmly hope, for the
honour of my country people, that the _ten guinea_ advertisement
remains unanswered.

I had an old nurse living with me a few years ago, an African,
but who had been brought to this island as a slave when she was
about ten years of age. She is a firm believer in jumbles, and is
one of those privileged people who, it is said, can talk to these
gloomy beings, and, by some potent charm known only to
themselves, hinder them from playing any mischievous trick. For
this reason she was frequently called upon to use her art, when
the jumbies troubled any of the little negroes. When this was the
case, she went into a room by herself, and entered into a
conversation with the invisibles, and by some means or the other,
succeeded in drawing them away. No one else, who has not a
similar power, dares to remain by; for they believe if they did,
the jumbies would blow upon them, and throw them into a fit, or
else cause their immediate death. Betsey, for that is her name,
like most of her class, is very fond of talking to herself, and
one day I remember hearing the following soliloquy. It was about
some lady in the island who wore false hair and false teeth:—“Eh,
eh! you eber hear such a ting as that tho’, dat missis hab one
sombody’s hair, all curly curly, so tie it on he head, an say he
b’longs to he; an den dat no all self, for he hab one sombody’s
teeth too! Eh, eh! me wonder how he like, me no go do so, war
for? s’pose jumby cum an say, gib me me hair, gib me me teeth,
war me go do den; jumby no like people com take der tings away.”
I ought here perhaps to remark, that when negroes are talking,
they seldom use but one of the genders, and that the masculine,
in direct opposition to Lindley Murray.

It is also a very prevalent opinion among the negroes that if
they beg one of their dying friends to “trouble” any one they
dislike, (that is, for his spirit or jumby to appear to him,) the
jumby, which they expect to rise on the third day from death,
will do their bidding, and that the person so haunted can never
take rest until he himself dies. Their opinion respecting the
immortality of the soul is, as far as I can understand it, this—
that if a person die one day and is buried the next, during the
succeeding night, the spirit, or as they term, it the “jumby,”
rises, and either goes to heaven, or, if during life they have
committed any crime, or met with a violent death, wanders about
the earth, until by prayers, fumigations, or something of the
kind, it is laid to rest.[18]

When a jumby haunts a house, they get a coal-pot, upon which they
place a quantity of pepper, salt, _nuno_, (the wild basil,) part
of a horse’s hoof, and a little brimstone. This coal-pot is set
in the middle of the house, with the back and front doors open,
and is allowed to burn until after midnight; at the same time,
they stick over the doors and windows, and in the corners of the
house, bunches of “milk-bush,” another wild plant. This ceremony
always takes place during the night, but they allow the bush to
remain until it withers. Whilst these articles are burning, the
friends who are assembled in the “haunted house,” and the
residents themselves, are employed in “cursing the jumby,”
telling it to “go where he com from,” “that if he one good
somebody he would hab been at rest,” &c.; and just as the clock
strikes twelve at midnight, the windows are opened, and a
quantity of water thrown out to wet the “jumby” and send it away,
for as long as the coal-pot continues burning, they believe the
jumby cannot pass through the house, but is still lurking about
the yard watching for an opportunity of getting in.[19] Strange
as this may read, it is firmly believed in, and actually
practised up to the present time, not only by negroes, but by
many of the better sort of people.

When a negro wishes a jumby to hurt his enemies, he makes use of
various charms to effect his purpose; one of which the following
anecdote will illustrate. About two years ago, two black boys
went to a pond at the head of the town, to water a horse. The one
that was riding the animal carried it far into the pond, and by
some mishap or the other, fell off. His friend viewed him
struggling in the water; he saw him sink, and rise to the
surface,—again he disappeared; and although the spectator of this
melancholy scene was but a very little fellow, he leaped in to
his assistance. But oh! the frenzied grasp of death! well may it
be said, “What pain it is to drown!” or, in the words of the
homely proverb, “A drowning man will catch at a straw,”—the dying
boy saw the hand stretched to his aid; and grasping the proffered
palm, both sank to rise no more. Some person residing near the
pond gave the alarm, and by means of drags, the bodies were

A relation of one of these poor boys had an ill-feeling towards
an acquaintance, with whom she had quarrelled, and she thought
this a good opportunity of injuring her enemy. Under pretence of
plaiting this woman’s hair, (towards whom the ill-feeling
existed,) she contrived to cut off a good portion of it, which
she placed in the hand of the boy, just before the coffin was
screwed down, at the same time pronouncing the word “remember.”
The consequence of this was, (as my negro informant related it,)
“de pic’nee jumby trouble he so, (meaning, I suppose, the
relation’s adversary,) dat he no no war for do, till at last he
go out of he head, an’ he neber been no good since.”

If any one is murdered, and the murderer is not discovered, the
jumby of the victim cannot rest, but is continually roaming about
the spot where the bloody deed was committed, or else tormenting
the perpetrator of the crime, until they are obliged to confess
the fault. I have heard an old woman talk of a murder, which was
committed some time ago, where the spirit of the murdered woman
pointed out to her friends the person of her destroyer. It
occurred upon an estate called “Jonas’s,” and as “brother
Jonathan” lately said of a most improbable tale, “is
extraordinary, if true.” A female slave upon the property was
suddenly taken ill, and before medical aid could be procured, she
died. There was strong suspicion that she met her death by
swallowing some deleterious drug; but who tendered the “poisoned
chalice,” none could tell. The next day the body was to be
consigned to the tomb. It was customary at that period to bury
the slaves about the negro houses, and porters carried the coffin
upon their shoulders to the grave. At the time appointed the
company assembled; the porters took up the coffin, and the
procession formed. But, lo! instead of going to the grave, the
men commenced walking very fast in an opposite direction; the
walk increased to a run; the company in amaze called after them
to know the meaning; “It’s the jumby in the coffin,” was the
reply of the porters. On, on they went, up to the “buff,” (as the
negroes call the proprietor’s house,) down again,—round the negro
houses, here and everywhere, the jumby carried them.

The two white overseers upon the estate came to inquire into this
mysterious proceeding. Upon being told the circumstance, they
laughed at it, and said it was the porters’ nonsense; that if
they would put the coffin down, they (the overseers) would take
it up and prove it was no jumby running them. This proposition
was joyfully agreed to, and the coffin shifted to the shoulders
of the overseers. Once more the procession formed, and they
started for the grave; but this time it was worse than ever; the
jumby obliged the white men to run with their burden, until they
nearly fainted with fatigue, and caused them most lustily to call
out for the former bearers to relieve them.

Again the porters commenced their melancholy office of carrying
to the grave a corpse that would not be buried. The same ground
was again passed over, but no effort of theirs could lead them to
gain the intended place of burial. At length, forced on by the
jumby, they made up to a negro house, the door of which was shut;
and before they could ask for admittance, the coffin was impelled
through it, breaking it into pieces, and was dashing forwards
against the face of a man, the only inmate, who, frightened and
horrified at the encounter, was endeavouring to effect his
escape. This at length he accomplished, but not before he bore
upon his head and face the marks of a jumby’s revenge. The open
door gained, he fled as if ten thousand demons were hanging upon
his steps, while the corpse, satisfied at having pointed out its
murderer, bowed itself upon the bearers’ shoulders, and then
allowed them to carry it quietly to its last resting-place.

Time flew on, and no tidings of the murderer were heard, until
about six months had elapsed, when a party of negroes went into a
copse to cut wood. They had almost penetrated through its tangled
mazes, when they thought they saw something lying under the
brushwood; and upon a nearer approach, discovered it to be the
man who had fled from the attack of the jumby. He was in a dying
condition, and according to the old women who related the
circumstance, “He face ’top most like one buckra, all _whitey
whitey_, from de jumby licking he so;” a great compliment to us
whites! But to return to our story. The negroes picked him up,
and carried him home, where he lived long enough to confess, that
a quarrel having arisen between himself and the deceased woman,
he procured “something” from an Obeah man, which he put into some
soup, and which caused her death.

Like everything else, my story has an end; and now let me ask my
readers what they think of it? I am sure they will join with me
in deploring that superstition has still so many votaries. Oh!
that her reign was at an end! Yet there are some negroes who are
getting over the dread of these things. An old woman remarked one
day, “Missis, me hear of jumby, but me neber see dem; me can’t go
say dere non ob dem, but me say, if one sombody do good, God will
neber let dem hurt you; an we ought to pray, dat wen we go dead,
He will gib us some place ob rest.”


[15] The manner in which these East Indian charms are tried is as
follows:—When a trial by wax is agreed upon, a number of persons
write their names upon scraps of paper, including those of the
parties who may be suspected. These scraps are enclosed in balls
of wax, and are thrown into a bason of water; those which float
at the top are opened, and whatever name is written therein is
believed to be the thief. When an ordeal of rice is tried, a few
grains of that article are placed upon the tongue of the supposed
culprit: if the party is innocent, the rice, when chewed, mixes
with the saliva, and is expectorated of a milky consistence; but
if, on the contrary, guilty, no power can moisten it, but it
comes out a dry powder. I should not feel at all surprised at
seeing this last charm turn out true, for of course the natives
firmly believe the truth of it, and the guilty one’s conscience
must upbraid him, and his emotion probably parch his mouth. With
regard to the _wax trial_, I cannot so readily account for it.
Mr. Forbes, in his “Oriental Memoirs,” mentions seeing both of
these charms, as well as many others, (being nine in number,)
tried; some of which are sanctioned by the British authorities.
He goes on further to state, that in _all cases_ where he was
present, they came true. I could not take upon myself to
discredit what this clever and ingenious writer says; much, very
much may be attributed to the effect of a strong imagination,
which most Eastern nations possess.

[16] The dislike to this day is supposed to arise from the

[17] The term “jumby” is applied to all supernatural beings.

[18] A similar idea to this still exists in the Department Indre,
France. The inhabitants believe that after death the soul of the
deceased flies about the apartment where the dissolution took
place, seeking some cranny by which to escape to heaven. For this
reason, as soon as any one is supposed to be near death, the
friends of the dying person take care to remove every vessel that
contains liquid, fearing the soul may fall in, and thus be lost.
In Scotland, something of the sort seems to be believed in among
the lower classes; for when a person is in the last agonies, the
doors of the house are set open, that the soul may find no
impediment in the way of its escape. The ancient Jews, according
to Dr. Lightfoot, were of an opinion that the soul of the
deceased hovered about its former tenement until after the lapse
of three days, when it sought the regions of bliss or misery.

[19] This ceremony is performed nightly until the house is so
thoroughly fumigated that the “jumby” quits in despair.

                         CHAPTER XXXIV.

  Seeming paradoxes explained—Negro suspicion—Instances of it—
  Stealing—Its various characters—Leasing—The dead canaries—
  Broken promises—Idleness—Negro wages—Their present lot—

In continuing my “shadows” of negro character, methinks I hear my
good readers cry out, “Why, here is nothing but paradoxes. In a
former chapter the negroes were all and everything, but now it
appears the tables are turning, and, Proteus-like, assume another
shape.” Stop a little, my kind friends; a word or two in my own
defence, if you please. What may appear paradoxical at first,
upon further research may not prove so; the sky we admire for its
beautiful cerulean tint is not in _reality_ blue. I have before
remarked, that I should have to give the “shadows,” as well as
the “lights” of negro character. I am sorry to be obliged to do
so, for I wish them well; but as, in describing the early days of
slavery, I have not screened the master, so must I now give the
real outlines of the negro. I ever did, and ever shall detest the
name of slavery, and glad do I feel that it is done away with, at
least in British colonies, if only for the honour of my dear
native isle; and while I have to write of negro vices, I again
repeat, that they do not so much result from the natural bias of
their character, as from the effects of the bonds they have so
long worn, which, degrading them in their own eyes, have
conspired to render them what they are. Time can only correct
their errors: let us, then, not despair, but hope for the best.
Surely we ought to see some amendment in the rising generation,
and we shall do so, I feel assured, if their old relations do not
poison their minds, by telling them, because they are taught to
read and write, it will be a degradation for them to work in a

In the latter part of the preceding chapter, an account was given
of their various superstitions; the next strong trait in their
character is suspicion. They can seldom be brought to think you
have an eye to their interest in any new arrangement you may make
with them in their domestic concerns. If you address them with
kindness, they suspect you have some motive for so doing,
prejudicial to their welfare. Should you inquire after their
living, the quantity of live-stock they keep, or any other little
domestic comfort, or, indeed, ask them where they live, or who
they work for, the same thoughts possess their mind.

It is strange, too, that they will hardly ever sell any of their
poultry or meat, or, indeed, anything else they may have to
dispose of, to the proprietor or manager residing upon the same
estate as themselves. No! they prefer bringing it miles, perhaps,
to town, and probably getting less for it, than if they had
disposed of it to their masters. If asked to do so, they commonly
find some excuse; it is too old or too young, or too fat or too
lean, or they cannot catch it, or else they want it for
themselves. This singular practice arises from suspicion; they
are fearful of letting their masters know what their resources
are, and what they do with their property. For this reason, they
prefer going to a dark shop to purchase what they want. They do
not like to be recognised by any one while thus employed; nor for
any one to know how much money they lay out, or what they buy.
There are some retail shops, or _stores_, as they are called in
the West Indian idiom, which are scarcely six feet high, and
which of course are very dark and uncomfortable; yet, as
unpleasant as these stores or shops may look to the eye, they are
for that very reason frequented by the negroes. I am, in this
part of my subject, more particularly speaking of the state of
affairs before emancipation, but I believe this mistrust of their
employers still continues. In former days, so fearful were the
slaves of letting their masters know how much money they
possessed, that it was a common practice of theirs to bury it;
and often death overtook them before they could tell their
relations in what spot they had deposited it, and consequently it
was lost. If “Daddy Whelan,” the notorious “treasure-seeker,” in
Mrs. Hall’s interesting tale of the “Crock of Gold,” was here, he
might be more fortunate than in his own country.

In receiving money they are equally suspicious; I have had
opportunities of seeing this under the free system. It is
customary upon estates to pay the labourers on the Friday, or
early on the Saturday morning, and it is curious to see how they
count and re-count their money, fearing the paymaster may have
cheated them. In one or two instances brought beneath my own eye,
a negro has returned his wages, with—“No right, massa, money no
’nough;” it has been counted again, the pay-book referred to,
when instead of being _too little_, it has proved to be _too
much_; the surplus deducted, and the right sum handed to the
negro, he grumbles again, because he brought it back.

Another, and I am also sorry to say, very prevailing trait in the
character of my black brethren is, stealing. This they appear to
think no crime, so long as they are not found out; and when by
any unforeseen occurrence they are, it is not for the criminality
of the act they mourn, but for fear they may not have another so
good an opportunity of repeating their exploit. In many
instances, they are so adroit in purloining articles, that they
are almost competent to give advice and instruction to the
“light-fingered gentry” of “London and its vicinity.” It seems
impossible to break them of this habit of pilfering, so strong is
it engrafted in them; people are never safe from their
depredations. Upon estates they steal the sugar, molasses,
cane-juice, (to make into vinegar, which they sell for a
penny-halfpenny sterling a bottle;) cut down the canes, as soon
as, or even before, they get ripe; milk the cattle; pick the
cocoa-nuts; and, in a word, take all they can get.

The merchants suffer from their depredations in various ways.
They not only take up goods they never intend to pay for, but
they steal whatever they can lay their hands upon. Nothing comes
amiss to them; and be you as clever and cunning as you may, they
will be sure to outwit you, in one way or the other. Should you
be the owner of a small craft, which you man with a few black
sailors, and which you employ in trading between the different
islands, you are sure to lose something in every voyage. Your
rope and canvas is gone—_nobody_ knows how; a cask of salt-fish
is opened and robbed of its contents—_nobody_ touched it. If dry
goods form your cargo, pieces of shirting, bales of cotton, or
something of the kind, generally take their departure—_nobody_
saw them.

If you employ a carpenter, your nails and lumber are sure to
commit suicide or something of the sort, I suppose, for they are
gone, and _nobody_ used them. A mason steals your lime; a cooper
steals your staves and hoops; a painter steals your oil, your
turpentine, and paint; and domestic servants steal all they can.
Some negroes employ themselves in walking about from store to
store, selecting various dresses, handkerchiefs, ribbons,
gentlemen’s coats and vests, or any similar article, which they
carry, they say, to shew Mrs. this or Mr. that; but, somehow or
other, these persons are generally very much afflicted with that
malady, want of memory, and they forget to return the goods in
question. The shopkeepers have suffered so much from this
infirmity, that now they will not deliver anything to be looked
at, unless the messenger brings a written order. But this
resolution does not at all intimidate these clever thieves; they
get a scrap of paper written in a lady’s or gentleman’s name, and
unless some errors in orthography, or a particular specimen of
bad writing, leads to a suspicion of their authenticity, they
often succeed in getting a “pretty considerable deal of goods,”
as the Americans say.

Others, again, go to a store and ask to be shewn some
shingles;[20] they take two or three as a sample, and if approved
of, they are to return for so many bundles. About ten yards
further, they meet with another store, and here they procure
another sample; and so they go on, until, in time, enough is
obtained to patch their houses. In the same manner, they get
samples of tea, peas, rice, coffee, &c., which saves them having
the very disagreeable necessity of paying for what they use.

Some of the country negroes fall upon another plan of levying
contributions upon the public. They make love to a pig or a fowl,
or some other article belonging to their neighbours, but which
they will not steal upon any account; accordingly they entice or
carry them to a convenient distance, and leave them there. After
a little time has elapsed, they return by the same road, and as
soon as they perceive the articles, whatever they may be,
(although left there by themselves,) they exclaim, “Eh! eh! me
lucky true to-day, me find dis fowl; well, me want it ’nough, me
sure!” In this manner, they endeavour to stifle the “still small
voice within us,” while, should they be accused of this, they
immediately cry out, “Well, me neber know if one somebody find
one someting he call tief for it!”

I should have enlarged upon the thefts of our domestic servants,
but really, upon thinking over it, the task appears too arduous.
I might write and write and never finish,—it would, in truth, be
“a story without an end;” for this system of stealing is so
indelibly implanted in some of their minds, that no measures you
can try will break them of it. You may use the greatest leniency
towards them, argue with them in the kindest manner, point out to
them the sinfulness of their ways, it makes no impression upon
them—they only wait until you retire, or are off your guard, and
the same theft will be repeated. Nor are coercive measures of
more avail; you may take them before a magistrate, who will
commit them to the house of correction; when the period of their
punishment is expired, and they are again at liberty, they return
to their illegal habits with redoubled avidity, as if to make up
for lost time. I do not say this is the case with all; a few
weeks spent in confinement has often the effect of restoring to
society a reformed member. To thieving we must add lying, and in
this accomplishment many of them are so well skilled, that
Ferdinand Mendez Pinto must have hid his diminished head. It is
really wonderful to hear to what extent they will carry their
lying; for example, if you miss anything and inquire after it,
they will deny peremptorily they ever saw it, when, at the same
time, they know full well where it is, but do not want the
trouble of fetching it. They will rather tell a story at any time
than be forced to use the least exertion. While I am writing, I
hear complaints of this. A servant of ours has just drawn a
lucifer match, and knowing how careless all negroes are of
throwing about fire, the question has been asked her, “Where did
you put the match after using it?”—“Upon the table,” was the
reply.—“Are you sure of that, and that it was extinguished before
you left it?”—“Yes, sir.”—“Susan, go and look; I cannot believe
her, I am sorry to say.” Susan returns with the box of lucifers;
the match, _still burning_, has been replaced in the box, and the
lid put on, to the imminent hazard of setting the house on fire,
had it not been fortunately discovered. My attention being drawn
by this colloquy, I ask, “Grace, how can you use yourself to tell
such stories?—are you not a Sunday-school scholar?”—“I forgot,
ma’am.” They never own they do tell a story; they always forget,
or else they boldly stick to their first assertion, let the
contrary be as plain as it may.

Another bad practice of theirs is, that if they have committed
any error which might be remedied, or neglected to do anything
which might afterwards be performed, they will never let you
know, until it is too late. I had a very beautiful pair of
canaries, who greeted me every morning with the sweetest of
songs. I loved the little creatures—“for the bird that we nurse
is the bird that we love;” and in this far distant land, away
from all my kith and kin, with the exception of one for whom we
are taught to forsake all other earthly ties, they were my
constant companions. Months rolled on, and the fervour of a
tropical sun fevered my blood, and parched my lips. I sighed for
the pure breeze of my own dear land; and as my little birds
warbled their sweet, clear song, memory carried me back to those
pleasant fields, where, in my early days, I gathered the fragrant
hawthorn, and listened to each “wood-note wild.” But, alas! a
wide, wide ocean rolled between me and them, which may be very
easily crossed in imagination, but not so in reality; and
consequently, I had to content myself with leaving the crowded
town, and trying the country air. I left my little birds to the
care of a domestic, with particular injunctions to give them
daily fresh seed and water. From time to time, when I saw her, I
inquired after her little charge; they were quite well, was
always the answer, until at length, when I returned, I found my
poor little favourites dead—dead from starvation; and when I
spoke about it, and asked why such stories were told me, all the
satisfaction I got was—“I forgot dem.”

It has been remarked, in black workmen, that if they promise to
come and complete a particular job on a certain day, and they
conclude with “Please God, me come,”[21] they seldom keep to
their word, for if they can procure another job which they think
will pay them better, they consider it of no importance
disappointing their first employer. In the same manner, they will
engage to build a house, or indeed any other work, for a certain
sum; if, after going partly through it, and drawing all the money
they can, they find it will not pay them as well as they at first
supposed, instead of representing it to the parties, and resting
upon their generosity to enlarge the sum, or else putting up with
the result, they immediately leave it, and you may get it done
the best way you can. So, again, upon estates, a party of negroes
will undertake to plant or hole a piece of canes for so much: if
they find it will pay them very well, they keep on; but if, on
the contrary, they think they have not made so good a bargain as
they imagined, they shoulder their hoes, and away they start.
This habit of not speaking the truth is so proverbial, that it
gives rise to the vulgar adage—“a negro lies like a horse
trotting.” I have heard of a white emigrant from Anguilla saying,
“that he would never again believe a negro, until he saw hair
growing within the palm of his hand,” so notorious is this

Idleness is another fault in many negroes: everything that is
done by them is done lazily. If working upon an estate, as long
as the master’s eye is upon them, they get on pretty well; but as
soon as he retires, down go their hoes. I should think this, in
great measure, must be attributed to their having been so long
used to working under a driver; for although they are free in
body, they are far from free in mind. I am sure they ought not to
do this; for, badly as they used to be treated some ninety or a
hundred years ago, since they have been free, and, indeed, for
many years before, only that they bore the name of slaves, they
have had nothing to complain of. I am, and ever have been, a
stanch advocate of anti-slavery doctrines; and, consequently,
this assertion coming from me may be considered of some weight.
It is said, that immediately after their emancipation, the wages
of the negroes were rather low; but that, I am sure, cannot be
said now. The common rate of wages is a shilling sterling per
day; but then they often work “task-work,” as they call it, and
in that case frequently get from three to four shillings. Indeed,
their earnings depend entirely upon their own exertions; for the
estates upon which they work will always find employment for

Besides this actual sum, it must be remembered, that they enjoy
various privileges, which our English labourers can never hope
for. The negroes have their houses found them, a spot of ground
to plant provisions in, a doctor and medicine when they are ill,
and a certain quantity of molasses and rum when doing certain
work. Besides all this, they have the liberty of picking what
wood they please, of keeping what stock they like, provided they
keep their pigs, sheep, and goats, confined or tied up, that they
may not injure the young canes, which injunction they regularly
break. Then, again, they pick the grass, sheep and goat meat,
growing upon the property, which they bring into the capital of
an evening, and generally sell for three bits, another shilling
sterling. And not only this; but as West Indian property is but
seldom enclosed, they think it but fair to gather what fruit they
choose from the several trees growing about the estates, and
which they also bring into town, and sell in the market. Would
that many of our poor English peasantry were as well off as the
negroes now are, instead of suffering, as they often do, from
cold and hunger. What Englishman would let them help themselves
to the produce of their orchards! I have often before remarked
how much I detest the name of slavery—there is something so
revolting in the idea of men selling and buying their
fellow-creatures; but I cannot hear the West Indian negroes
_pitied_ for their hard lot, when I know that in _these days_ it
is so much the contrary, without trying to put my English friends
in possession of the real state of things.

It is observable, that but few negroes are to be met with who do
not possess some money; and, in dress, they deny themselves
nothing that pleases them, or, as they say, “fills their eye.”
Many, since emancipation, have purchased many spots of land,
built houses, and appear to have many comforts, and almost every
head negro keeps his pony or his horse, while others run their
stanhopes. As I have already observed at the beginning of this
chapter, many may think I am writing paradoxes; but such is not
the case, and any one intimate with West Indian affairs will
confirm my statements. The fact is, great changes have taken
place in this island as well as everywhere else; in former days,
when those dreadful acts of cruelty which I have recorded used to
be practised, religion was held in very slight regard. That the
negroes are a very provoking race all must allow who have any
dealings with them; and men with strong passions, uninfluenced by
Christian feelings, possessed of wealth, and having their slaves
entirely under their control, were apt to give way to resentment
against them when in error, and commit those deeds at which their
descendants blush.

But now the case is very different; the negro has been freed, and
his rights as a man acknowledged. Still his interests are so
inseparably connected with those of his employers, that the
subversion of the one must end in the ruin of the other. What
would any one think, who has the interest of these important
colonies at heart, of the introduction of slave-made sugar into
England at any rate of duty, and leaving the West Indian planter
(after having cheerfully acquiesced in emancipation) to bear the
burden of this high rate of wages. Although no one can deny that
most of the Antiguan planters have benefited by emancipation, in
the way of cultivating their estates, yet free labour, generally
speaking, and from what has fallen beneath my own observation,
cannot cope with slavery. No! it is the whip, and the whip alone,
which can give to England the cheap sugar she is promised. Who,
then, would not rather give a penny a pound more for their sugar,
than, after having freed the British negro, eat that which is
seasoned with the tears and groans of foreign slaves.

It is among the domestic servants that negro idleness is most
severely felt, for there are ways of making the others work,
although the whip is banished, by checking their pay. In the case
of our house-servants, however, it is not so easy; they seem to
have no wish to please their employers. If left to themselves,
they care not how the day passes, so long as they get through it;
one English servant will do twice the work two Creoles will.
Probably this arises in great measure from the practice of having
so many servants to do the work that two or three at furthest
ought to do. I have frequently seen six or seven domestics
lounging upon the floor of an anteroom, amusing themselves with
stringing “jumby-beads,” as a pretty little red and black seed is
called, sucking sugar-canes, or telling _nancy stories_,[22] or
else singing one of their favourite songs; perfectly at their
ease, it is immaterial to them whether their daily business is
completed or not. If their mistress calls, it is often unheeded;
or else it is, “Bro’ James call see Agnes to tell aunty Jenny
missis call he,” (Anglicised, “Brother James, call sister Agnes
to tell aunt Jenny,” &c.) Thus they loiter away the day; whilst
their _missis_, after in vain endeavouring to be heard, or at
least attended to, resigns her fair form to the couch, and that
listlessness which many Creole ladies like to indulge in during
the heat of the day.


[20] Used instead of tiles for the tops of houses.

[21] A by-word with the negroes when making appointments.

[22] Tales of _diablerie_.

                         CHAPTER XXXV.

  Negroes: “Shadows” continued—The crime of murder—Instances of
  it—Hon. Sam. Martin—Giles Blizard—Adam Ogilvie.

The next crime I have to mention, in this continuation of dark
tints, is murder. This dreadful act, however, I am happy to say,
is not very common now; in these days they seldom embrue their
hands in human blood; but in former years, years of moral
darkness, the negroes used frequently to suffer death for the
Obeah practice of poisoning, or in some other way taking the
lives of their fellow-creatures, particularly those who had
authority over them, and who, in the exercise of that authority,
made use of harsh measures. Perhaps it may not be uninteresting
to some of my readers to narrate a few instances of the most
remarkable murders which have been committed in Antigua; for,
strange as it may appear, almost every one likes to hear of deeds
of blood.

In 1701, a dreadful murder occurred, the details of which are as
follows:—The speaker of the house of assembly, the Hon. Samuel
Martin, the owner of that beautiful and romantic property “Green
Castle,” had for some reason or the other refused his slaves
their usual Christmas holiday, and compelled them to work
throughout the day. This infraction upon what they considered
their right so exasperated his negroes, that on the 25th of
December, 1701, they with one accord rose upon their master,
determined to take sure revenge. Accordingly, at the dead hour of
the night, they broke open the doors of his mansion, and rushing
to the chamber of Major Martin, fell upon him, and actually
hacked him to death, with the hoes they had been using in the
cultivation of his sugar-canes.

Shocked at the dreadful fate of her husband, and fearing the same
terrible death from the infuriated slaves, should they discover
her, Mrs. Martin fled from the scene of horror, and with her
frightened children, sought safety within the precincts of a
neighbouring cane-field. Here she remained throughout the
remainder of that awful night; until when the morning came, and
the bright sun arose and chased away the clouds of darkness, she
summoned courage to leave her place of concealment, and throw
herself and children upon the protection of her friends. The body
of the unfortunate Major Martin (after an inquest had been held
upon it) was interred in the churchyard of St. John’s; and the
chief actors in the tragical affair were afterwards brought to
condign punishment. Mrs. Martin lived for many years after this
sad event, and married for her second husband Governor Byam,
(vide Appendix, Byam Lineage.) The father of Major Martin was the
first of the name who emigrated to the West Indies, and the
ancestor of the present Sir Henry Martin, who traces his descent
from thence.[23]

About seventy years ago, a gentleman of the name of Giles Blizard
owned an estate in that part of Antigua called Pope’s Head, which
estate at the present day is added to another, and the whole is
in possession of the Hon. Bertie E. Jarvis. Giles Blizard was a
true planter of the olden time. He resided in an old roomy
mansion upon his estate, where wealth and meanness were strongly
contrasted,—where the silver flagons and costly salvers glittered
amid the coarse earthenware of England, like a proud and
high-born beauty, who by some strange chance has been mixed with
the common herd,—where the polished surface of the mahogany
furniture mocked the unwashed walls and darkened roof of the
apartments, whose protruding beams afforded safe protection to
innumerable hordes of insects. Surrounded by his numerous slaves,
the old gentleman exercised the power of a prince, and gave no
bad idea of the Saxon Thane, or more haughty feudal baron.
Everything in his dwelling was conducted upon a scale of heavy
munificence; his table groaned beneath the weight of its various
viands; but there was no order, no delicacy observed in the
arrangement of them. Like the generality of Antiguan planters, he
was hospitable in the extreme; his doors were ever open, and
every visiter was sure of a hearty welcome. A stranger would have
been surprised at having wines of the choicest vintage handed to
him by a bare-footed butler, or his every movement attended to by
a host of half-naked negroes; but such was the domestic
arrangement of the old Antiguan mansions. Giles Blizard was
supposed to be exceedingly rich, and to keep by him a noble
portion of hard cash, which in _those golden days_ was generally
in the form of doubloons and joes.[24] He was fond of boasting of
his ample share of this world’s wealth; and this exciting the
rapacity of two of his slaves, prompted them to murder him, that
they might become possessed of his store. A convenient
opportunity for perpetrating this foul deed had long been waited
for, and was at length obtained.

At the close of a gloomy day, in the last month of the year, the
old gentleman seated himself upon a sofa, and prepared to take
his evening nap, attended only by a black boy of the name of
Diamond. The evening was tempestuous; and between the pauses of
the storm, the inmates of the apartment listened once or twice,
as they thought they heard approaching footsteps; but the wind
shook the ill secured shutters with such violence as to drown all
other sounds, until at length they supposed that it was nothing
but fancy, or the hollow moaning of the blast.

Giles Blizard was at that period of life when to many the
pleasures and luxuries of this world seem sweeter from the
certainty that they are drawing near their close, for often, very
often, is it that—

    “Aged men, full loth and slow,
    The vanities of life forego;
    And count their youthful follies o’er,
    Till mem’ry lends her light no more.”

Thoughts similar to these might float through the brain of the
old gentleman, for Giles Blizard was a lover of conviviality, and
many a festive scene had those old walls witnessed; but the hands
of an antique clock, painted in various devices, pointed to the
hour of midnight, and once more adjusting his head, the planter
sank to sleep.

The two slaves, the intended murderers, who, through a crack in
the shutter, had been watching the movement of their master and
his youthful attendant, perceiving by his unaltered position and
deep breathing that he slept, and having full proof of the
other’s being in that oblivious state from the sound of his nasal
organs, quietly took off the shutter, and entered the apartment,
armed with a blunderbuss. Placing their hands upon the shoulders
of the old gentleman, and holding the deadly weapon to his ear,
they demanded where he kept his cash. In vain their victim prayed
for mercy—in vain solicited the boon of one short hour to collect
his scattered thoughts; the murderers were not to be turned from
their fell purpose; the finger was pressed upon the fatal
trigger, and the deed was done; the soul of Giles Blizard winged
its way to the vast shores of eternity, and the sofa where he
laid him down in full confidence of safety was covered with his
brains, and blood, and silver hairs.

Shocking as it is to humanity to relate, one of the criminals was
the natural son of the old man, who, although he was not the
actual murderer, was the instigator of the dreadful act; for
when, at his master’s earnest prayer for mercy, the black man
seemed to relent, Geoffry (the name of Mr. Blizard’s coloured
son) told him to do it at once, and make sure of it, or else he
would himself. After the perpetration of this atrocious crime,
the murderers placed the blunderbuss upon a table, close to the
side of their victim, with a glass of brandy and water near it,
supposing that, when discovered, it would be surmised that it was
an act of self-destruction; but murder is an offence “that’s
rank, it smells to heaven,” and, in most instances, the slayer is
discovered. The boy, who really slept upon the entrance of the
men, was awakened by the noise; but perceiving the blunderbuss,
and hearing the conversation which ensued between his master and
his murderers, he became alarmed, and, to ensure his own safety,
counterfeited sleep. Upon the morrow’s dawn he hastened to relate
the circumstance, and by these means the offenders were brought
to justice. They were carried before a magistrate, and condemned
to suffer death by decapitation on the following day, which was
Christmas-day; but Mr. Rose, the then marshal, got it postponed
until the day after, thinking that a greater number of spectators
would be present, to whom it would act as a warning. The culprits
were taken down to a spot where such scenes were generally
performed, and which still goes by the name of Gallows Bay, and
there, after being blindfolded, they were bound to the upright
post of the gallows, their right hands first struck off, and then
their heads. The heads, after being dipped in pitch, were stuck
upon spikes, and the hands nailed under them, while their bodies
were carried down to the water’s edge, and there burned in a
lime-kiln. This, I think, was the last time decapitation was
practised in Antigua, although in former years that mode of
execution was very frequent; it may be said, perhaps, that it is
more dreadful to the sight than pain to the culprit, for a
skilful executioner at one stroke would sever the head from the
body; but I must say I am very happy that now no whitened skull
or distorted features are likely to meet my sight in an evening

The next most remarkable murder committed in Antigua was one in
which a young man of good extraction was the unfortunate victim.
About the year 1800, Mr. Adam Ogilvie, son to Sir John Ogilvie,
arrived in Antigua, to take charge of his father’s property in
that island. Young Ogilvie was in the spring of life, for he had
not numbered more than twenty years, and all things glittered
around him, and presented to his eye a fair and pleasing
prospect. But, alas! for man “nought ministers delight but what
the glowing passions can engage;” drawn by that alluring goddess,
Pleasure, who hides beneath a smiling mask her haggard and
distorted visage, Mr. Ogilvie was led into a train of debauchery,
and, among other excesses, formed an illicit connexion with a
female named Molly belonging to the property. To this female
might justly be applied the hackneyed sentence, “Frailty, thy
name is woman!” for during this intercourse with her master, she
proved _enceinte_ by one of the servants, a boy of the name of
“Martin;” and fearing a disclosure of her infamy, and not willing
to give up her favoured suitor, she, in conjunction with him and
two other slaves upon the property, planned the murder of her
unfortunate master. During the residence of Mr. Ogilvie upon the
estate, he thought proper to have some of the negroes punished
for various offences committed by them, among whom were the
accomplices of Martin and Molly, and this was one cause of their
so readily joining them in their diabolical scheme.

On the night chosen for the execution of their design, Mr.
Ogilvie retired early to-bed, and soon tasted that sweet restorer
—balmy sleep. His murderers, after waiting a sufficient time to
assure themselves of the fact, proceeded in a body to his
apartment, attended by the wicked, heartless Molly, bearing a
candle and lanthorn in her hand, for the purpose of giving light
to the men while in performance of their demoniacal office of
strangling Mr. Ogilvie. Upon gaining the bedside of their
sleeping victim, who, unconscious of his fate, perhaps some

    “Fantastic measure trod o’er fairy fields,”

or else dreamt of health, long life and honours, all alas! fated
to exist but in the brain—the murderous party sprang upon him,
and as a refinement in cruelty, awoke him, and with many
imprecations, informed him that for his ill conduct, they were
come for the purpose of taking his life. Death is common to all;
but then to die by violent hands in the midst of health and
vigour; to be so rudely awakened from an earthly slumber, so soon
to be consigned to that last long sleep, which all must do,

    “When we have shuffled off this mortal coil;”

how hard to bear! What “tempest to the soul!” Oh! how that victim
begged! how promised to be all they wished, would they but give
him that one boon—life, which, when once taken, can never be
restored. All was of no avail! To each agonized entreaty, no
answer was returned, but a firmer grasp upon his throat. Mr.
Ogilvie had ever been in the practice of sleeping with loaded
pistols under his pillow, and in this moment of danger, one of
his first cares was to possess himself of those weapons. But here
again Molly stepped in as his evil genius; for to carry fully
into effect her murderous intentions, she had, during the
preceding day, contrived to take out the flints. The tragedy
hastened to a close; disappointed in his hopes of defence, and
pinioned by his murderers, Mr. Ogilvie’s struggles became fainter
and fainter—his sighs burst thicker from his lips—the blood
gushed in torrents to his head and face, as his deadly enemies
pressed more tightly the heaving throat—his blood-shot eyes
started from their sockets—and with one sharp pang, one choking
frenzied cry, his spirit winged its flight to another sphere, and
his body sank on the pillow a blackened corpse.

The dreadful deed completed, no feeling of contrition, no twinge
of conscience haunted the murderers; but taking the key of the
cellar, they hastened to convey to the chamber of the dead, a
bottle of wine, and another of shrub. After enjoying themselves
with a portion of these liquors, they placed the remainder upon
the bed, at the feet of their inanimate victim, thinking that as
Mr. Ogilvie had lately given way to excessive inebriety, an
indulgence in that vice would be considered as the cause of his
death, when the body should be discovered.

Long did the overseer upon the property wait the following
morning for the appearance of his employer; anxiously did he
watch the door, as hour after hour rolled away; but the door
still remained closed, and his patience becoming exhausted, and
fearful of some misfortune, he at length determined to burst it
open. This effected, the dreadful truth quickly forced itself
upon his conviction; there lay Mr. Ogilvie stiff and cold, who
only the day before exulted in all the glow and strength of
youth. As no information could be obtained from either of the
servants, as to whether Mr. Ogilvie had complained of
indisposition during the night, it was thought necessary to call
a coroner’s inquest to sit upon the body; and consequently,
Martin, on account of his being the deceased’s most constant
attendant, was despatched to convey the necessary information to
the coroner.

Mr. Ogilvie’s estate was situated at the extreme west end of the
island, and at that period, the person who exercised the office
of coroner resided at the extreme east end. Martin, who knew too
well the cause of his unfortunate master’s death, found his
interest lay in retarding, rather than urging on his journey, and
from this cause, the coroner did not reach Mr. Ogilvie’s
residence until the following day, when the body was found to be
in such a decomposed state, that the coroner’s jury could form no
correct opinion as to the cause of his death, and therefore
returned a verdict of “Died by the visitation of God.”[25]

So far all was well with Martin and his associates; no hand
pointed to them, no eye watched their movements. Suspicion was at
rest; and no “foul whisperings” were abroad which would tend to
urge further inquiry into the tragic event. In this manner, three
years rolled away; but murder will out; sooner or later, such
deeds are published in the broad front of heaven. Like the savage
tiger, who, having once tasted human blood, longs for more,
Martin and his accomplices, finding how well they got through
their first murder, resolved to attempt the life of the manager,
Mr. David Simon.

Mr. Simon had been living upon another estate belonging to the
Ogilvie family and for some time before had been suffering from
severe indisposition. When in a convalescent state, he was
invited by Dr. Ogilvie (who had taken charge of the estates,
after the demise of Mr. Adam Ogilvie) to spend some time with
him, for change of air. The room appropriated for his reception
was the one in which Mr. Adam Ogilvie met his fate: and here it
was that Martin and his party determined to strangle him, as they
had formerly done their master. Night, “sable goddess,” from her
ebon throne, “stretched her leaden sceptre o’er a slumbering
world,” and Mr. Simon retired to rest; but before he courted the
embrace of sleep, his thoughts dwelt upon that kind Power who had
so graciously supported him throughout a severe fit of illness,
and at length brought him to that state of convalescence when he
could again enjoy those things which make life sweet. Whilst
ruminating upon these subjects, his attention was drawn to a
slight rustle in his apartment, and listening more intently, he
heard a whispering voice exclaim, “Hold him!” His first plan was
to spring from his bed, but in the act of doing so, he was
grappled by one or two of his assassins. Fearful was the struggle
which ensued—the one striving for his life, the others for their
safety, which they well knew would be lost did their intended
victim escape. At length, wonderfully renewed with a sufficient
degree of strength, Mr. Simon was enabled to jump to the back of
the bed, which fortunately happened to be distant two or three
feet from the partition—a place not calculated for the murderers
following up their attack. Here, keeping his assassins at bay,
Mr. Simon redoubled his cries of murder, which at length were
fortunately heard by Dr. Ogilvie, who occupied a distant chamber,
and who quickly coming to his assistance, the culprits became
alarmed, and endeavoured to make their escape by the windows.
This they finally succeeded in doing, but not before Martin (the
individual who, it will be remembered, was sent to call the
coroner on the occasion of Mr. Ogilvie’s untimely death) was
fully recognised by the manager and Dr. Ogilvie. The next
morning, it was discovered that Martin and his accomplices had
absconded, upon which, search was made, and in the course of a
short time, they were apprehended and brought up for trial.
Molly, the faithless paramour of Mr. Ogilvie, turned king’s
evidence; and in the course of her examination, admitted the
facts of that gentleman’s murder, and her own share in that
shocking deed. It may be necessary to observe, that when the
murder of Mr. Ogilvie was determined, the ranger upon the estate,
a man of the name of Jacob, was fully sensible of their
intentions, although he would not aid them in the completion; he
was therefore found guilty as an accessary before the fact, and
with Martin and the others, condemned and executed; his body hung
in chains upon the property as a warning to others. Molly and her
child are still alive, and reside upon the estate where she
played so shameful a part; whether a prey to remorse, I am unable
to say; but we hope she has truly repented, and sought pardon
where it is only to be found—at the throne of Heaven.

The family annals of Sir John Ogilvie present little but a series
of disasters. Out of nine sons, two died prematurely in the East
Indies, one was killed in Egypt, another fell in the capture of
Martinique, while, as we have already seen, young Adam was
murdered in Antigua.


[23] For the genealogy of the Martin family, see Appendix.

[24] A gold coin, of about the value of 3l. 4s.. sterling. The
joe was a gold coin worth about 36s.. sterling.

[25] Decomposition takes place so soon in this warm country, that
interment is necessary within twenty-four hours after

                         CHAPTER XXXVI.

  Negroes: The crime of poisoning—Instance of it—Murder of Mr.
  Brown—Love and jealousy—The end of unlawful love—Infanticide—
  Incendiarism—A late instance of it—Polygamy—Disregard of
  marriage vows.

After having given a short sketch of the murder of Mr. Blizard
and Mr. Ogilvie by their slaves, it was my intention to have
entered more fully into the cases of poisoning which in days gone
by have occurred in this country. But in looking over the
dreadful catalogue of such crimes, I find them so frequent, and
the manner in which they were carried into effect so similar,
that one instance will suffice.

About twenty years ago, a woman of the name of Betsey, belonging
to a highly respectable family, had a dispute with her mistress.
With the feeling of revenge burning at her heart, she carried her
complaint to a friend, who advised her to consult an Obeah man,
and get him to give her _something_. Not having an opportunity of
going herself, or else not wishful of being known, she sent an
old woman of the name of Jenny, an _attachée_ of the yard, to
obtain the deadly potion, the mysterious _something_, as the
negroes generally termed it. The old woman accordingly visited an
Obeah man of the name of John, who gave her a liquid which was to
be administered to her mistress in some of her nourishment, and
which he said would kill her in one minute. This obtained by
Betsey, who, like most of her tribe, was the slave of her
passions, she resolved to lose no time in carrying her plan of
revenge into execution; accordingly, she handed it to the butler,
with whom, it appears, she had formed a _liaison_, and who was
concerned with her in her plot, with injunctions to put it into
whatever liquid her mistress might order. By some means or the
other, a suspicion that all was not right was raised; certain
circumstances were inquired into, and the result was that Betsey
and her accomplices were tried and executed. Old Jenny, the
messenger employed in their dealings with the Obeah man, was
sentenced to work in the street-gang for a certain period. From
her statement at her trial, that the Obeah man, John, told her
the draught would kill her mistress in “one minute,” she ever
after obtained that cognomen from the negroes about the streets.

In the year 1820-30, another murder was committed, the details of
which are as follows:—A person of the name of Brown was living as
overseer upon an estate called Big Deurs, now in possession of
Messrs. Manning and Anderdon. The negroes upon this property had
been for a long time in the habit of pilfering, and in many
instances Mr. Brown had discovered the offenders, which caused
him to be disliked, and determined one among them, more
heartless, perhaps, than the rest, to undertake his destruction.
On Christmas day, Mr. Brown rode to La Roche’s, a neighbouring
estate, and upon his return in the evening, between the hours of
six and seven, he met with his untimely death.

The slave to whom Mr. Brown had rendered himself particularly
obnoxious was named Cambridge, and this man had long lain in wait
for an opportunity of completing his crime, and for the purpose
had sharpened an old copper skimmer, (used in boiling sugar,)
which he thought would prove an effective weapon.

Mr. Brown, like too many other white men in this island, carried
on an amour with a woman belonging to the property, named
Christiana, and it was the first intention of Cambridge to murder
her as well as the overseer, supposing it was through her
communications that so many discoveries of thefts had been made.
On the Christmas day, Cambridge dressed himself in his best suit,
and proceeded with many of his fellow slaves to the Methodist
chapel at Parham, intending upon his return home to waylay and
murder the woman, who had also visited the same place of worship.
In pursuance of his plan, he hurried out of chapel immediately
after service, and took up his stand in a part of the road which
he knew Christiana must pass. After waiting in vain for a long
time, a group of negroes at length hastened by, when Cambridge,
whose stock of patience was exhausted, joined them, and asked if
they knew where Christiana was? In answer to his query, they
informed him she had visited a neighbouring estate, and after
remaining there for a short time had proceeded home by another
path. Thus thwarted in his views of obtaining revenge, his
designs upon Mr. Brown gained double hold of him; and hastening
home, he disrobed himself, put on his working-dress, and first
telling his wife, “_That he had lost one opportunity, but he
would take good care he did not lose the next_,” quitted the
house, taking the old copper skimmer with him.

It was a beautiful evening; the moon shone in all her splendour,
and every star that twinkled in the heavens glittered around that
murderer’s step. Oh, that such dreadful thoughts should have
possessed that man’s mind in the midst of such a lovely scene
upon the evening of that very day when angels proclaimed “Good
will towards man!” But, alas!—

    “Nor grateful evening mild, nor silent night,
    ———————— nor walk by moon,
    Or glittering starlight,”

had any effect upon his hardened heart—

    “His soul was dark within;
    He lived but in the sound
    Of shamelessness and sin.”

Many a minute stole away, and Cambridge (who had concealed
himself in a cane-piece, bordering the road his intended victim
must necessarily pass) kept his fatal stand. Not a sound was
heard, save the evening breeze as it whispered among the long
leaves of the sugar-cane, or the occasional croaking of some
night reptile. At length, the tread of a horse’s foot was heard,
and warned the murderer to be upon his guard. Unconscious of the
dreadful fate hanging over him, Mr. Brown rode slowly on,
accompanied by a black boy, when, as he was passing between two
cane-pieces, just where the canes grew thick and high, with one
bound the murderer was upon him. A heavy blow from the sharpened
skimmer upon his head, stunned him; and ere a prayer could rise
to his lips, his soul flew to meet his God, and his murderer was
left standing alone, with the stain of human blood upon him.[26]

The boy who accompanied his unfortunate master was the nephew of
the culprit; but as he was unperceived by Cambridge, he was
enabled to make his escape into the cane-field, where he remained
an unknown observer of the dreadful event. As soon as the
murderer had quitted the spot, the boy hastened to the overseer’s
house (not far distant) and related to the inmates the fate of
his master, and the name of his destroyer. An immediate alarm was
given, and, guided by the boy, they quickly reached the scene of
murder, where they discovered the unfortunate overseer, bereft of
life, and presenting an appearance too horrible for description.
They then proceeded in quest of Cambridge, whom they found at his
hut, with his blood-stained garments still upon him, and in the
act of washing his unhallowed hands.

After a coroner’s inquest upon the body, and a verdict (according
to the circumstances of the case) returned, Cambridge was
conveyed to the capital, where he took his trial for murder. He
was found guilty, and condemned to suffer death by hanging; and
to make the punishment more impressive to others, he was ordered
to be carried to Osborn’s Pasture, in the vicinity of the spot
where the murder was committed, and there to be hung and

Long did his whitened bones glisten in the moonbeams; and as the
wind shook the chains which held the body, many a little negro
who had strayed that way in search of guavas, fled from the spot,
for fear of the “dead man’s jumby.”

About ten years ago, murder again stained the annals of Antigua.
The slayer was one of the softer sex, and jealousy prompted her
to the act. She broke into the house where her rival lived, and
in her passion at finding her husband an inmate of the dwelling,
stabbed her who had destroyed her peace. The husband escaped by
the window; and after the perpetration of the deed, the murderess
obtained the assistance of some of her friends, and between them
they dragged the body of the murdered woman to the beach, and
threw it into the sea. Weights were attached to the feet of the
corpse to make it sink; but they were either insufficient, or
they became detached, and the body floated. A negro belonging to
a neighbouring estate, who was out searching for stray cattle,
discovered it among some mangrove trees, and gave the alarm, the
deed was traced to the woman, and she was condemned to follow her
victim to the “tribunal of the Just.”

Since then, this offence has rarely been repeated; but some
instances there have been since my residence in this country,
where the demon Revenge has sealed and stamped them for his own,
and instigated them to perpetrate crimes at which the soul
revolts. A circumstance of this kind occurred in the year 1840. A
black man, of the name of Joseph Gould, formerly belonging to the
Rev. Mr. Gilbert, the descendant of the founder of Methodism in
Antigua, was living in an unlawful state with a coloured girl, of
whom he became jealous, and in consequence resolved to end her
existence. The unfortunate woman was murdered in a very brutal
manner, by means of a thick stick, which completely shattered the
head, and scattered the brains; her fingers and part of her ears
were then cut off, to secure the rings and earrings which she was
too fond of wearing, and the body then flung into a cane-piece.

The dreadful effluvia first attracted notice; and after some
search, the body was found. A woman came forward and related some
circumstances which occurred upon the last evening the
unfortunate girl was seen alive, which led to the apprehension of
Gould. He was brought to trial,—the evidence was all
circumstantial,—and after a patient investigation of the case, he
was sentenced to transportation for life. It appears, however,
that no opportunity has occurred of putting the sentence into
effect, as he still remains an inmate of the gaol, where it is
said he suffers the stings of a guilty conscience, which conjures
up the shade of the murdered girl before him, soon as “evening
gray” sets in. This is the last case of particular note which has
stained the domestic pages of this pretty little island; and I do
hope, that now education is so liberally tendered, the minds of
all classes may become enlightened, and this horrible crime
become extinct.

Infanticide has also been too often perpetrated in Antigua,
particularly since emancipation; although, it is true, it does
not prevail to the extent it does in that “emporium of the world”
—London. It is one of those unnatural offences which shews too
clearly our fallen state. “Can a woman forget her sucking child?”
is asked by the inspired Book; and then, as if the sad reality of
what human nature is capable of is remembered, it is added, yes,
“She may forget!” And, alas! those words have indeed proved true:
the mother has indeed forgotten to have compassion upon the
helpless little being which has derived its existence from

In the days of slavery, the negroes were not allowed by law to
marry; the union between them in most cases lasting only so long
as agreeable to themselves. From this cause, it was frequent to
find a family of eight or nine children, who all owned, perhaps,
different fathers. This the woman considered no disgrace, and
consequently had no incentive to disguise the fact by destroying
the child. The case, however, is now different with many. Since
schools have been established in this country for the benefit of
the negroes, it has been the constant aim of the parents, in most
cases, to avail themselves of the privilege, by sending their
children to receive instruction. So far all is well; I am a great
advocate for the spread of education among the lower classes, and
think not, with some, that the withholding knowledge from them is
the only security for obedience. “If ignorance is bliss, ’tis
folly to be wise,” says one, whose name stands high in the rolls
of literary fame; and those who would wish to debar the poor from
receiving the instruction tendered at the different free-schools
&c. are apt to take this sentence as their motto, without
answering the question it undoubtedly implies, “where _is_
ignorance bliss?” It is good when the labourer feels his want of
learning, and strives to obtain for his children the boon which
has been denied his own youth. But the great evil which is likely
to ensue in this island, from this liberal gift of education,
until the negroes become more wise, is in this—when they send
their children, particularly their daughters, to a school where
they are taught to read and write, &c., they fancy that any kind
of servitude will be a degradation to them; and consequently
every means in their power are tried to bring them up as
_ladies_, that is, to sit in the house all day, although, for a
remuneration, they will condescend to do a certain portion of
needlework for any one who may require it; or else to get them
appointed teacher in some of the infant schools upon the several
estates. These “young ladies” of course lay aside the ancient
fashion of tying their heads with many-coloured handkerchiefs,
and wear bonnets instead; and that everything may appear in a
proper light, whatever follies or errors they may commit, they
endeavour to screen as far as lies in their power. It is
principally among this class of persons, then, that the crime of
infanticide is to be found: to preserve their own character in
the eyes of the world, they add to their former error the heavier
guilt of murder; and without one pang of remorse, expose to the
hungry dogs the little innocent they ought to have guarded with
double care, as they had already deeply injured it by denying it
a father’s protection. Several instances of this kind have lately
occurred within a short period; but the subject is so revolting
to the sensitive mind, that we will banish any further mention of
it from these pages.

In the list of higher offences, incendiarism must be noticed,
which has been frequently practised by the negroes to carry out
their plans of revenge. Before emancipation, as well as at the
present period, the horizon has been frequently illuminated with
the glare of an incendiary fire. We have already seen, in the
year 1831, how much the negroes resented the abolition of their
Sunday markets, by scattering abroad that devastating element;
and within a few weeks ago, a case of arson occurred in the
capital, which might have proved very fatal in its consequence.

A highly respectable inhabitant of Antigua, had, with his family,
retired for the night, perfectly unconscious of harm. Who would
not think himself safe within the precincts of his own home?—
where but in that fortress would we look for rest? Alas! that
human depravity should rage to such an extent that, even in our
own domestic circle, revenge, that deadly “upas,” should spring
up, to destroy, with its poisonous exhalation, that great
blessing, family peace! A few words between the servants of the
establishment and their employer led, it is supposed, to the
event, which, had it not been fortunately discovered, might have
hurried a whole family into eternity by one of the most dreadful

On the night in question, a female inmate of his house was unable
to sleep, and after tossing about for some time with a degree of
feverish irritation, her sense of smelling was considerably
annoyed by what appeared to be the smouldering of burning cloth.
Awaking the rest of the family, she communicated to them her
alarm, and on proceeding to the staircase to ascertain the cause,
it was found to be completely enveloped in smoke. Making their
way down with precipitation, a sofa was discovered to be in
flames, which, with some difficulty, was extinguished, and once
more the family prepared to seek their respective chambers. As,
however, they proceeded to the staircase for that purpose, a
lambent line of light was perceived to issue from a small closet
under the stairs, and upon opening the door, it was found to be
in a blaze, and small billets of wood, coals, and other
combustibles, heaped together amid the pile of table-linen,
silver, &c., which the place contained. A reward of one hundred
pounds sterling has been offered by the owner for the purpose of
discovering the offender, but nothing has been elicited which
could lead to the apprehension of the miscreant, who, for the
gratification of an evil passion, would have so heartlessly
injured those who never offended. It appears strange that the
legislature should have taken no notice of this wilful deed
(which might once more have spread the horrors of a conflagration
throughout the town) by increasing the reward offered; it must
have been a great oversight on their part, as their own safety
might depend upon it; for if the perpetrators of the deed remain
unknown, and consequently unpunished, who can say where the evil
may end?

From taking a short glance at incendiarism, the next point to be
considered is polygamy—and here, again, we see the demoralizing
effects of slavery. It has been before remarked that there was no
legal marriage rite for slaves, such unions being merely
transitory. It is true by what has been called the “Melioration
Act,” rewards were held out to such slaves who should preserve
their fidelity in such contracts; and those persons who had the
management of negroes were forbidden to encourage immorality
among the women by their own example. But, alas for Antigua! when
were these regulations put in force? No European can imagine to
what extent such vices were carried in former days, vices which
will still be painfully felt by society for many, many years to
come—at any rate, until this generation shall have passed away;
and, even then, the plague-spot will, perhaps, shew its taint.
When the light of day began to dawn upon this benighted part of
the globe by the introduction of Christianity among the negroes,
they were encouraged by the Moravians and Methodists to choose a
partner from among the other sex, and, in the face of the
congregation, vow to each other fidelity and love. Although, of
course, such marriages were not held binding by law, it was hoped
that it would in some measure check the increase of immorality;
and, in some instances, it might have done so, but the greater
part violated those vows without compunction, or held them only
until a fresh object gained their attention. It has been
frequently known for a man thus married to maintain his wife and
his mistress in the same house, which arrangement occasioned
frequent domestic broils; and in such cases, the man, being
applied to as umpire, has settled the dispute by remarking to his
mistress, “That she must not quarrel with her companion, who was
_his wife_, and that if she did, he would turn her away;” and
then, addressing the aggrieved wife, tell her, for her
consolation, “That she must not mind, because she was his _wife

After the negroes were freed from the thrall of slavery in 1834,
and the same privileges open to them as to the rest of the
British subjects, it was their pride to be married at the
established church. In many instances, they had been already
joined by the Moravian or Methodist preachers, but wishing to get
rid of their partners, who had borne with them the brunt of
slavery, they privately paid their addresses to some of the young
ladies already mentioned, carried them to the altar, and there
married in direct opposition to their former vows, which were as
binding and sacred in the eyes of God as if his grace the
Archbishop of Canterbury had pronounced the nuptial benediction.
Among such an immense number of negroes, it is almost impossible
to discover the offenders in this respect against common decency,
although the clergymen are generally indefatigable in their
exertions to discover the truth. Still, vigilant as they are,
they have been deceived; and instances are known, where parties
have been twice married, even in the episcopal church. In some
cases, a wedding-party have assembled within the sacred walls,
the intended bride and bridegroom waiting at the altar until the
lips of the presiding minister shall have made them one; when, as
that solemn charge has been given, “If either of you know any
impediment why ye may not be lawfully joined together in
matrimony, ye do now confess it,” those important words, “I do,”
have been suddenly heard, and (as in most cases) a female has
come forward declaring that herself and the guilty beau had been
long ago married at the chapel. When such circumstances have
occurred, and the clergyman refused to re-marry them, it has been
no unfrequent practice for the parties to embark on board a small
vessel, and proceeding to Monserrat, or some other island, there
to procure the completion of their unhallowed purpose.

Another evil to be deplored is, that even when parties are
lawfully joined in the bands of wedlock, they pay such little
regard to the solemnity of the act. The smart dresses, (for which
often they commit an unlawful deed,) the plentiful breakfast, or
lunch, the gilded cake, and the driving about in borrowed gigs,
is much more thought of by them than the serious, the important
promise of loving one another in sickness and in health, and,
forsaking all others, cleave only unto them who, by the
ordinances of God and man, are made one flesh. From this want of
regard to the serious part of the ceremony, great mischief
ensues. As soon as the novelty has worn off, the husband forgets
the wife he ought to cherish, and the wife forgets his honour
which she is bound to protect. The old leaven cleaves about them,
and throwing off all shame, they follow the bad example of their
parents, (who indeed are less faulty than themselves, not having
had such means of instruction;) and by these means, give to the
country, instead of an honest peasantry, a race of idle
illegitimate children. I would by no means take upon myself to
state, that of the many weddings which weekly take place among
this “sober-hued” people, none remember to keep their
marriage-vows unstained; on the contrary, no doubt many find it
what it should be—a state “ordained for the mutual society, help,
and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in
prosperity and adversity.”


[26] The negroes say that no grass has ever grown in the spot
where the blood dropped since the time of the murder.

                        CHAPTER XXXVII.

  Negroes: A little change for the better—“Shadows nursed by
  night retire”—Respect to age—Filial affection—Generosity—Their
  kindness to the poorer class of whites—Cleanliness—the opposite
  vice—Behaviour at church—A black exhorter—Reading and writing—
  An anecdote.

I am happy to find that at length I have got over the most
prominent vices of the negroes. I must say I have a great love
for my species, of whatever shade they may be, and I would at any
time rather have to paint their virtues than their vices. But,
alas for human nature! the latter are by far the most numerous,
or else “men’s _evil_ manners live in _brass_, their _virtues_ we
write in _water_.” To relieve ourselves for a little from the
dreadful deeds of blood which have so lately engaged our
attention, let us turn from the “shadows,” and try to pick out of
the negro character something a little pleasanter—something
which, if we are forbidden to term virtues, we may, at least,
give them the appellation of good qualities.

In pursuance of our plan, I think we may mention filial
affection, and the respect they pay it. It is but seldom that a
child will behave ill to its parent; on the contrary, they
generally do for them whatever lies in their power. Age, too, is
particularly venerated; and the noisy little negroes at their
sport will stop while one of their old people are passing, with
“How d’ye, marm?” and “How d’ye, me pic’nee?” is the courteous
reply. Generosity may also be mentioned among the “lights” of
their character. When they see one of their own class in
distress, they generally relieve them to the extent of their
ability, and to their sorrows turn a listening ear. When any of
their friends or relatives die, they commonly have some little
offering to make to assist in defraying the expenses of the
funeral. Sometimes they will carry a bottle of wine or porter—
sometimes bread and cheese, or a few biscuits, &c.; but however
small the article is, it is always gratefully received, for this
feasting at a funeral is as necessary to their idea of etiquette
as giving the corpse a shroud or a coffin.

Nor do negroes always confine their generosity to their own
colour, of which I can give a striking example. It is true, it
does not much concern either “Antigua” or “the Antiguans,” but I
have already apologized for wandering out of my path, and this
comes so _apropos_, that I cannot refrain from mentioning it. In
the course of my peregrinations through different parts of the
world, it has been my fate to meet with many deplorable objects—
the half-starved diseased negroes—the dirty emaciated North
American Indians, and their miserable squaws, (as they term their
wives,) suffering from the effects of the alcohol they purchase
from their white brethren at the expense of their domestic joys—
the ragged, quarrelsome “wild Irish,” “the finest _pisantry_ in
the world,” in their own estimation—the deformed and almost naked
beggars of England; but in all my travels I never saw so truly
wretched a class, taking them altogether, as the poor white
inhabitants of Barbados. I never shall forget the appearance they
presented to my eyes upon my first visit to “Little England,” as
the Barbadians in their pride call their pleasant little island.
From the intense heat of the sun, and their constant exposure to
its rays, their complexions are changed from a natural white to a
fiery red. The women allow their long hair to float all down
their backs, and be blown about by every zephyr. This may sound
very pretty in poetry, but it is anything but pretty in _real
life_, particularly when we take into consideration the colour
and state of these locks; the fervent kisses of the “great
luminary” has changed them into the appearance of dirty flax,
while their disordered and matted condition brings the idea
forcibly to your mind, that they have seldom, if ever, undergone
the ordeal of “brush and comb.” With respect to their persons,
they are, generally, almost in a state of nudity, or their dress
is put on in such a manner that it leaves you with that
impression; no shoes or stockings envelope their feet, while
their meagre, attenuated forms altogether produce an effect which
no pen can accurately describe.

The men look even worse than the women, for to their squalid
appearance they add the air of a “Regent-street lounger.” Their
castors stand in great want of “Rowland’s Macassar,” as well as
Dr. Winn’s “true anticardiam,” which engages to make _old_
articles look like _new_; the original size has gradually
diminished until it is almost insufficient to cover their
pericranium, while the form beats in distortion those to be daily
seen in the shop-windows of “Lloyd.” This _elegant_ article of
dress is placed upon _one side_ of the head, while on the other
protrudes a huge mass of disordered hair. With regard to the
other articles of clothing, they bear anything but the marks of
taste, their coats being generally “out at elbows,” and partly
devoid of collars, their trousers reaching about half down their
legs, and the use of shoes and stockings dispensed with; a short
stick denominated a “two _foot_ two” swings from their hands, and
then the costume is complete. Their houses are as dirty as their
persons, and from their incurable habits of idleness, starvation
is often their fate. To these poor unfortunates, the Barbadian
negroes are known to step forth as their guardian angels; they
will work for them, feed them, clothe them, and often shelter
them from the weather, and all this is done without the slightest
wish or prospect of receiving remuneration; their generosity in
some instances knows no bounds, and they will attend to their
every want with the kindness and affection of a parent. Although
we have no such miserable objects in Antigua, still I am
persuaded that, were it the case, the negroes of this island
would not be behind their Barbadian brethren in these acts of
charity; for whenever any European sailors get out of employ, and
wander about the streets in a state of misery, (although brought
on by their own misdemeanour in most instances,) the Antiguan
negroes extend to them their bounty, taking them to their houses
and giving them food, and not unfrequently small sums of money.

Next to generosity, cleanliness (in most instances) may be ranked
among their good qualities. Those who have any regard to
appearance make frequent use of water, which, in this climate, is
particularly conducive to good health; and they are careful to
make their children follow their example in this particular. In
their houses they are also very cleanly, and their culinary
articles are kept with the greatest care. They are very fond of
sending presents of eatables to their acquaintance, (such as
portions of their breakfast or dinner, &c., particularly
house-servants;) and when this is the case, they always pay some
regard to appearance. A clean white towel is wrapt round it,
whatever the viands may be; and if soup forms a part, it is sure
to be sent in a smart-coloured cup, with a cover. Sundays are the
principal days on which such presents are sent; and an observer
may often catch the little messengers peeping into the utensil
which contains the savoury mess, or tasting it, by inserting one
or more of their fingers, at the hazard of receiving a flogging,
should the tidings reach the donor’s ears.

It must, however, be allowed, that all negroes are not celebrated
for their purity of habits; on the contrary, there are many
exceptions among the indolent, and these present an appearance
painful to behold. Among the men, all the money they can procure
is spent upon that plague of the West Indies, “new rum;”
consequently, what they wear is of no importance to them. They
are, indeed, in a state bordering upon nakedness; and the filthy
manner in which they keep their persons renders them disgusting
in the extreme. A small insect, which is called a _chegoe_, or,
as the negroes express it, “jigger,” gets into their feet; and if
not extracted in time, makes its nest and breeds in the flesh.
The dirty and indolent beings I am now describing allow these
insects to breed so fast, and remain until they attain to such a
size, that it is impossible for them to be taken out; and the
consequence is, they feed upon the flesh, until the feet are in
such a state, that they are often obliged to suffer amputation as
far as the knee. Again—the dirt which they allow to remain upon
them for so long a time, produces various horrible complaints,
which, in the end, also call for the knife of the surgeon. This
latter class of persons meet with the abhorrence of all their
tribe, who never fail to express their contempt whenever they
meet; and was it not for the humane conduct of the Rev. R.
Holberton, (whose name must often occur in “Antigua and the
Antiguans,”) by seeking them out, and getting them admitted into
the lazaretto, (which owes its origin to his exertions,) many
must expire in the open roads.

But to return to the good qualities of the negroes. Another thing
worthy of remark is, the quiet and decorous manner in which they
behave in a place of worship. Upon my first arrival in this
country, I was particularly pleased with the conduct of the black
congregation at the episcopal church. Not the least noise was to
be heard—only the voice of the preacher, and the deep, and
apparently heartfelt responses of the people; and during the
sermon, the dropping of a pin upon the floor could have been
heard, so silent and motionless were they. At particular parts of
the service, all were kneeling, with the _appearance_ of the
deepest humility. Nearly all the negroes belong to one sect or
the other, and keep the outward ordinances of religion with
exactness. They all talk of the goodness of God, of their own
unworthiness, and their hopes of salvation, &c.; but, alas! among
many of them, these are words _only_, as far as their general
conduct leads us to conclude. There are others, however, who
appear to have benefited by the instructions of their pastors,
conducting themselves in a praiseworthy manner, thus giving
encouragement to the missionaries,[27] who must feel richly
rewarded for their exertions in behalf of this benighted class,
and for being made, under the hand of the Almighty, the honoured
instruments of snatching them as so many “brands from the

Among the higher order of negroes who have joined respective
sects are many who at times officiate as _parsons_ when those of
the “cloth” are absent. They bury the dead, (that is, when such
event takes place in the country,) read prayers to the sick, or
pray extemporaneously, (which is most frequent,) and sometimes
preach in the country chapels. I have heard an anecdote related
of one of these kind of parsons, who used to be very fond of
giving an oration at the grave; or, to shew forth his skill in
reading to the astonished multitude, favoured them with a portion
from some of his favourite authors. On one occasion, when a
minister was about to inter a friend of this black preacher, he
asked permission to read an exhortation after the funeral service
was performed. This request was immediately granted; and,
accordingly, he proceeded to his house, which was near the place
of burial, for his books. It took him some time to collect them
together, so extensive was his library; at length this important
exploit was effected, and he left his house, armed with folios,
quartos, and octavos, and proceeded to the grave. To his great
surprise, upon his arrival, he found the funeral over, the
minister gone, and the mourners dispersed; so, like poor Dominie
Sampson, he had to shoulder his volumes and return also.

Perhaps it may afford matter of surprise to some of my readers to
hear that the negroes of former days could read or write; but
although slave-owners in general opposed the system of opening
the book of knowledge to their slaves, it is to the honour of
Antigua that she has been the most forward in pursuing a contrary
line of conduct, and allowing her negroes the privilege of being
taught those necessary qualifications. I am again referring to
those dark days of slavery when the negroes were looked upon as
little better than cattle; but in this part of my subject, I
cannot help remarking what a difference a few years has made with
regard to the instruction of the blacks. In former days, as above
alluded to, the negroes were purposely kept in ignorance both of
spiritual and worldly knowledge; all attempts to inform them were
decidedly against the wishes of the proprietors, (I am now
speaking of the West Indies generally,) who thought it one step
towards insurrection. From this state of darkness and bad policy
Antigua was about the first to awake; her efforts were at first
but very slow, and her plans but half formed. But now the case is
very different: schools abound in all parts of the island, both
for young people and adults; there is not a negro who cannot
obtain instruction if he wishes, and among the young there are
none but the very worthless who cannot read. In the statistical
part of this work will be found the number of schools, what sects
they belong to, and also the number of children; but besides
these, there are a great many private schools where the little
black boys and girls who attend are taught reading, writing, and
arithmetic. The Wesleyans were the first who instituted these
schools; they were followed by the Moravians; and upon the
appointment of a bishop to this diocese, the church followed
their example.

Among the children who are instructed in these various schools,
many of them can read fluently, write a good hand, and cast up an
account with correctness; but with regard to those who gained
their learning at an earlier date, very much cannot be said for
their chirography. I have seen some of their writing, however,
which is very passable, while others, again, presented the
appearance of complete hieroglyphics, and which I should as soon
think of interpreting as the characters on the tomb of “Cheops,”
or a Chinese manuscript. An anecdote is related of a person whose
name was Mac Namara; he was considered a superior kind of man for
his line, but was not much of a penman, his writing being chiefly
confined to the signing his own name. One day, his signature was
required in some haste, and taking the pen in hand, he commenced
“Macnamamamama,” till at length, turning to some person who stood
near him, “Brother,” says he, “tell me when me done; here, don’t
you think it looks long enough?.” It was his custom, it appears,
when signing his name, to look more to the _length_ than the
spelling, but being rather flurried on this day, he exceeded his
usual limit.


[27] I include under this term the very zealous and worthy
preachers of the Wesleyan sect, and the kind-hearted Moravians,
as well as the established clergy.

                        CHAPTER XXXVIII.

  Negroes: Their amusements—Natural ear for music—Singing—Dancing
  —Subscription routs—Christmas balls—The ball-room decorations—
  Ball dresses—Gentlemen’s appearance—Ladies’—Politeness—Supper,
  and the supper-table—The morning after a ball—Cards of
  invitation—The “good night.”

We have now to mention the amusements of the negroes, and their
conduct in their hours of recreation. The blacks have a
remarkable ear for music, and consequently are particularly fond
of singing. Indeed, they can hardly do anything without “forming
their voice to melody.” The sailors, when heaving an anchor, have
a peculiar song which they sing in chorus, pulling the cable at
the same time. When moving their houses, (which it is customary
to do in this part of the world,[28]) another ditty is requisite;
and even if you get them to lift any article which obliges them
to use a little exertion, a song must accompany the action. Most
of these songs are extempore, and are sung to some favourite
tune, the poetry being generally a species of parody, or else a
ludicrous composition upon some person who may have attracted
their attention, either by a peculiarity in dress or manners; and
it is surprising how soon the whole tribe learn it. Some negroes
have a clear, sweet, and powerful voice, while others again
resemble the screech of a pair of bagpipes, or give the idea of a
parrot warbling an Italian air. The black boys are nearly all
good whistlers, and some of them will go through, with
correctness, many of our best airs, with variations. They are
also great psalm-singers, the streets often resounding with this
peculiar species of harmony.

Next to singing, their favourite pastime is, to “trip the light
fantastic toe,” and at this sport they are indefatigable. These
dancing parties are differently conducted; at some are danced
quadrilles! (I am not aware if the gallopades and Mazurka have
found their way into these _coteries_ at present, but as all
negroes are great sticklers for fashion, I suppose they have,) at
others only country dances and reels are introduced; while the
Africans are content with their own native dance, and their music
of the _Bangoe_ and _Tum-tum_. Christmas is the principal season
for these assemblies, although there are subscription balls held
once or twice a week in some of the small houses at the back of
the town. These meetings may be very agreeable to the negroes,
but they are anything but agreeable to those unfortunates who may
chance to inhabit houses in the vicinity. Little or no sleep will
visit their eyes upon those nights dedicated to gay Terpsichore,
and they may be led to misquote Shakspeare, and say, “_Dancing_
murders sleep.” The music generally consists of a squeaking
fiddle, a tamborine, (upon which they have a peculiar way of
performing,) and a triangle, played without any regard to time or
melody. The worst characters frequent these houses, and the
refreshments are always levied by contributions upon the public.

Some of the Christmas balls (or as it is the fashion now to term
them, “quadrille parties”) are, however, conducted upon a very
grand scale. The ball-room is decorated with branches of the
cocoa-nut, interspersed with the many beautiful flowers which, in
these sunny climes, grow in such wild profusion, while boughs of
the Pimento (or “Christmas bush,” as it is generally called in
this country) and the orange tree, loaded with its tempting
fruit, impart a pleasing fragrance throughout the apartment.
Around the walls, brackets of deal are nailed to support the
innumerable tapers which serve to light up this “temple of
mirth,” and throw a radiance upon the countenances of the ebon
beaux and belles. The orchestra generally occupies one end of the
apartment; and the company is arranged, in two lines, the ladies
upon one side, and the gentlemen upon the other. The glittering
throng at “Almacks” cannot outvie in dress with the _glittering
throng_ at an Antiguan negro ball. Fashion exerts her power, and
seldom finds more devoted votaries than among these dark damsels
and their loving swains.

The dress of the gentlemen consists of a blue, brown, or purple
coat, (not _quite_ equal in make to one of Stultz,) with velvet
collar, and shining brass buttons; pantaloons, which would rival
in whiteness the snows of great St. Bernard; a many coloured
vest, a very smart cravat, silk stockings, and well-polished
pumps or fancy boots, with tassels, &c., in the most approved
fashion. In the folds of the cravat are deposited one or two
brooches, (not quite equalling in splendour and dimensions the
celebrated “brooch of Lorn,” but no doubt thought by the wearers
to be very tasteful;) a glittering brass chain, which after
performing countless figures and evolutions around the neck, is
deposited with its accompanying quizzing-glass (set in the same
_precious_ metal) in the waistcoat pocket; sundry brass rings
upon the fingers; a box to contain that fashionable dust, called
by mortals—snuff, ornamented with a _correct_ likeness of “Her
Majesty Queen Victoria,” or “Prince Albert,” with cheeks of the
colour of red ochre, and eyes “like two full moons;” these,
together with a voluminous silk handkerchief, plentifully
besprinkled with _new rum_, sold under the approved name of “_Eau
de Cologne_,” and then the costume is complete.

Smart as these beaux are, the fair sex make a much greater
display. Their favourite colours are pink, blue, and bright
yellow, and of these their dresses are generally composed; but
the manner in which these several shades are arranged defies all
description. For example—a dress of white gauze or net, over a
yellow slip, is profusely decorated with quillings of blue
ribbon, interspersed with red flowers; or perhaps a blue dress is
ornamented with green trimmings. Of course these dresses are made
in the height of the fashion, very long skirts with flounces, and
tight sleeves, with lace ruffles, and streamers of varied tints,
while the long kid or lace gloves, are drawn up the arm to the
exact point at which such articles are worn. Among the bijouterie
displayed upon these _gala_ nights, may be distinguished a
diversity of brass bracelets, two or three encircling the same
arm; numberless rings, in which the “lively diamond,” the ruby’s
“deepening glow,” the sapphire’s “solid ether,” the “purple
amethyst,” the yellow topaz, and the green emerald, are
wonderfully imitated in coloured _glass_; these _choice gems_ are
liberally bestowed upon every finger, and I am not quite sure
that the _thumb_ is exempted. Splendid brass chains also encircle
their (not) _swan-like_ necks, long pendants gleam from their
ears, and very pink silk stockings, with red, blue, or yellow
shoes, are called in, to astonish with their brilliancy of hue,
the eyes of their attendant youths. But notwithstanding all this
finery, it is upon the adornment of their heads that these ladies
lavish the most time and pains. This may surprise some, when they
consider how devoid the negroes are of that great natural
ornament which Rowland, by the aid of his incomparable
“Macassar,” so kindly and bountifully offers to dispense; but
still it is no less true, for what Dame Nature denies, art
bestows in the shape of a false set of curls, or a complete
_toupée_. These ringlets are cleverly fastened on by bands of
different coloured cotton-velvet, and the back of the head is
covered with wreaths of flowers and bunches of ribbons. Those
whose natural hair is long enough, wear it in what they term
“French curls;” but they never fail to have a sufficient quantity
of flowers intermixed with them.

The gentlemen are particularly polite to the ladies, attending to
their little wants with the greatest assiduity, and watching
their every movement, to anticipate, if possible, their wishes.
The ladies are also quite graceful in their manners, and forget
not to practise those pretty little airs of affectation which
some of their white sisters so ably perform.

When the tuning of instruments is over, and the musicians, by
stamping their feet and drawing up their persons to their full
height, give notice that they are ready, and have full confidence
in their own powers of drawing from wood and catgut “a concord of
sweet sounds,” the ball commences. A gentleman advances with
smirk and bow—“Oh, Miss, will you dance wid me?” “I’se must be
excuse, Mr. Charles Edward, ’cause I’se got to dance wid Mr.
Albert” “Oh, Miss, den me be too late.” Another lady is therefore
sought and won—“Wid much pleasure, Mr. Charles Edward.” At the
end of the set, refreshments are handed about, and again the
gentlemen vie with each other in shewing forth their gallantry—
“Miss, will you hab a glass of drink?” “I’se feel much obliged to
you, sir, if you please.” The “drink” is composed of ginger,
water, molasses, and “Christmas bush,” drank in a fermented

While the dancing is going on in one room, another apartment,
(or, if the house contains not such a desideratum,) a
neighbouring domicile is being prepared for the supper. Here,
again, their taste is shewn in the arrangement of the flowers &c.
with which the table is decorated, and in the disposal of the
many viands which are prepared for the occasion. They generally
employ a gentleman’s servant to superintend, so that this is
often performed in the first style. Among the multitudinous
supply of eatables may be found baked mutton, legs of pork,
turkeys, ducks, fowls, and guinea-birds; hams, tongues,
salt-beef, and cheese; cakes, tarts, and fruits, flanked by no
inconsiderable quantities of yams, sweet potatoes, _Irish_
potatoes, (as the Creoles always term them, whether they come
from England, Ireland, Scotland, France, or America,) boiled
rice, and bread. Nor must it be supposed these _solids_ want the
accompaniment of liquids—rum, brandy, wines, and brown stout, are
as liberally provided, and as liberally partaken of.

Perhaps it may be asked, how do the negroes obtain these
different articles specified,—where find the _cash_ to meet these
heavy demands? In the first place, it must be taken into
consideration, that nearly all the negroes who reside in the
country, upon the different estates, keep a great deal of stock;
they have their patch of ground, in which they raise vegetables;
and living as they do nearly all the rest of the year upon less
expensive dishes, they have money enough by them to procure the
above luxuries. Then again, it must be remarked, that it is not
_one_ family which gives these routs, but almost in every
instance it is a joint concern. The company pay a proportion, by
the gentlemen procuring tickets to admit themselves and ladies
for half-a-dollar, about 2s. 3d. sterling, which of itself
affords sufficient means to provide all those sumptuous viands
and costly liquids with which they regale themselves when
fatigued with dancing. The competition for opening the ball is
generally very great, and from one to five dollars is demanded
for that honour; but such has been the contest at times that a
doubloon, or 3l. 4s. sterling, has been offered for obtaining the
enviable post; and this of course further adds to their

When these grand balls are held in the country, the servants feel
no reluctance in riding their masters’ horses to and from the
place of entertainment; and consequently it is nothing uncommon
for great complaints to be made the next morning by different
gentlemen, when they visit their stables. “Why, Thomas, what’s
the matter with this horse? how jaded he looks,” says the gent,
addressing his groom; “I hope it’s not ill!” “Me no no, massa; me
quite sick meself, dat de trute,” replies one of the _beaux_ of
the preceding night. “And this one,” continues his master, “his
legs are quite swollen, and he’s all over mud; I hope you have
not been riding them last night, sirrah! I know you are full of
tricks!” “Eh, eh! massa, me no say, me quite sick; war for me go
ride de poor dumb brute for, dat’s all?”

While this dialogue passes in the stable between the injured
master and his faulty groom, respecting the state of “de poor
dumb brute,” who, had he the power of speech, could, like
Hamlet’s ghost, “a tale unfold,” a similar conversation takes
place in the house between the mistress and her confidential(!)
domestic. “Celestina, what is the matter with you this morning?
you don’t seem to know what you are doing,—are you ill?” “No,
ma’am.” “Then what do you look so heavy and dull about?” “Me no
able to sleep last night, missis,” is the answer of the fatigued

When the family meet around the breakfast table, “My dear,” says
the lady, addressing her _cara sposa_, “do you know where John
(the butler) is gone?” “No, my dear,” returns her better half,
sipping his mocha; “is he not in the house?” “No; he has not been
seen since last night.” “Very strange,” rejoins the gentleman. “I
must make inquiries about it as soon as I have looked over the
‘Weekly Register;’ the fellow gets too bad.” At this moment the
door opens, and John enters, his head tied up in a handkerchief
and a quantity of plantain leaves;[29] his countenance, deprived
of its naturally deep black, displays a sickly-looking hue; his
heavy blood-shot eyes, turning from one member of the family to
the other, as if to inquire what they had been saying about him,
and presenting altogether a most rueful appearance. “Why, John,”
cries his master, elevating his eyebrows, and wiping his
spectacles, to be certain it is really the lost butler,—“Why,
John, where have you been, and what have you been doing with
yourself?” “Quite sick, massa,” returns poor John, in a very
doleful tone; “hab feber all last night, neber sleep ’tall a
’tall; head really hurt me; ’bleive me go get _hager_,” &c. The
real fact of the case, John was one of the party the night
before, who had paid their devoirs too zealously to the “rosy
god,” “jolly Bacchus,” and the consequence was, headache and all
its accompanying et-ceteras, without the benefit of “soda water”
or “Morison’s pills of health.”

When these “grand balls” are in contemplation, great is the
flurry and fluster of the conductors; cards of invitation are
issued about eight or ten days before; glasses, lamps, dishes,
&c., are borrowed from managers or overseers upon the estate
where the rout is given, or if in town, from any “buckra” who
they may live with; flowers are begged, or gardens robbed; and
many other necessary deeds achieved. I have several of these
“cards of invite” lying before me, and for the edification of my
readers, I will transcribe one or two of them _verbatim_:—“Mr.
James Hammilton Compliments to Mr. James, and invite him to a
Quadrille party on Tuesday next week, with lady;” addressed, “Mr.
James Hammilton to Mr. James, Spring Gardens.” This is written
upon paper, which had once been white, but, alas! too many
touches have tarnished its fair character. The next which comes
to hand is traced upon that particular kind of green paper which
we commonly see wrapped round quills in the stationers’ shop
windows, in far-famed London, and is expressed as follows:—“Mr.
James will be happy of Mr. Brown and Lady Company on Saturday the
2nd Quarter of the Moon. Price 4s. 6d. Lower Form.”[30] The
direction to this last-named note is, I think, very unique—

                          “Mr. Brown,

meaning, of course, that the gentleman resided in St. John’s, the
capital of Antigua.

Having given two specimens of their written invitations, perhaps
some of my readers may call out, “Enough!” but there is still one
before me, which looks so very dashing that I cannot pass it by
with any propriety. It is written upon a _red_ card, (placed in a
_blue_ envelope,) in the following manner:—

“Mr. Edward and Sam will happy of Mr. Hues Company on the 25th
instant, &c. Quadrilles in Bishopsgate Street.

                                                   “G. Priddeys,
                                          “G. Silises. Stewards.

(Direction) “Mr. Hues, Esq.”

The ball generally breaks up between four and five, and then
there is great cloaking-up with the ladies, the gentlemen lending
all the assistance. “’Tanky, Mr. _Theopolus_, you’re bery kind,
I’se sure.” “Miss, anything dat _lays_ in my power for a lady
like you.” “Oh, sir! you’re very purlite.” “Miss Eleanora, does
dis shawl ’blongs to you?” “I’se ’bleive it do, Mr. Frederick.”
“Well, I do declare, I thought so, ’cause it’s handsome, like its
owner,” &c. &c. The _Good nights_ are then repeated, and the
ladies move off, accompanied by their _beaux_, and the late gay
ball-room is left to the smell of expiring tallow-candles, and
lamp-oil; drooping flowers, and broken bottles; sleeping
musicians, and half-starved dogs, who creep in with the hopes of
picking up a stray bone or two; until the bright sun arises, and
bids the inmates bestir themselves to clear away the relics of
their midnight orgies.


[28] For mode of moving houses, see page 132.

[29] A negro’s specific for the head-ache.

[30] I am not quite certain what is meant by this expression; but
suppose it relates to the arrangement of the forms, or benches.

                         CHAPTER XXXIX.

  Negroes: Fondness for “Nancy stories”—Negro loquacity—Their
  signification of the word “cursing”—Markets—Confusion of
  tongues—Weddings—The drive to church—Wedding banquet—Blushing
  brides—Funerals—“Wake nights”—Funeral procession—Christening—
  High-sounding names.

After dancing, I think the next favourite pastime of the negroes,
particularly among the younger ones, is to collect together upon
a fine moonlight night, and talk “Nancy stories,” (which, as
before remarked, generally consist of tales of _diablerie_,) and
the far-famed “Scheherazade” of the “Arabian Nights” could
scarcely invent more marvellous ones. Some tell of a wondrous
bird, (equalling in magnitude Sinbad’s roc,[31]) which in other
days appeared, and completely covered Antigua for some time,
obliging the good people to “light candle all de day, so dat dey
neber no when night come self;” others tell of men turning into
monkeys, (no uncommon thing now-a-days;) some of demons, and
their deeds; and others, again, of golden houses, and streets of
silver, flying dragons, and talking birds. These “Nancy stories”
are generally given in a species of recitativo; but the
conclusion to them all is the same—“I was dere, an see it well
done, and I get a glass of wine for me pains!” The relater of
these tales is held in great repute, and to obtain instruction in
the art, many a little negro will give their dinners, and go
hungry to-bed.

The negroes are indefatigable talkers, at all times, and in all
seasons. Whether in joy or grief, they ever find full employment
for that little member, the tongue. If none of their acquaintance
are near at hand to enter into conversation with, they talk to
themselves, maintaining different characters, and answering their
own questions. I have often thought two persons were conversing,
but upon inquiry, have found it to be only one. One peculiarity
of expression among the negroes is, that if you have to find
fault with them, and you express your dislike of what they have
been doing in the mildest terms, they immediately say you have
been _cursing_ them. When speaking, their tongues are very
vociferous, and prove extremely disagreeable to a stranger. Upon
my first arrival in this island, I was one day seated in a back
apartment, and wandering with Milton through the blissful shades
of Paradise, when I was aroused by hearing one of our domestics
speaking in a most clamorous manner. I bore it patiently for some
time, until finding it appeared to have no _terminus_, I
exclaimed—“My good Sarah, I should feel particularly obliged if
you would not speak _quite_ so loud.” How was I surprised, a few
moments after, to hear the same servant calling, in a still
louder tone, to one of her companions—“Sissy, (_Ang._, sister,)
war for you ’peak so loud? Me ’bleive you no hear how missis
_curse_ me just now for doing dat ’ting!”

But the market is the place, where the chattering is the loudest
and longest; it is a complete Babel—a scene of confusion almost
unimaginable. Black, brown, and yellow—indeed, almost every tint
which “sober autumn” wears—may be met with in the crowds of men
and women, boys and girls, who frequent the busy spot. The women
scream—men shout—the boys and girls, clad _à la nature_, laugh—
the little pic’nees, (as the negroes call their babies,) clinging
round their mothers’ hips, squall. In this warm country, where
meat is obliged to be dressed soon after it is killed, most of
the stock is brought to market alive; so to this tumult of human
voices is added the cry of goats, squeaking of pigs, cackling of
poultry, &c. To increase the noise, the venders call out the
different articles they have for sale:—“Want any corn _poon?_”
(_Ang._, pudding)—“Want any green corn _duckana, ladies?_” (a
similar production)—“Want any _yam_ and _pitaters?_” (potatoes)—
“Here’s your peas and pork!” Another party cries—“Bargain,
ladies! Bargain here!”—“Here’s your ’trong cloth! Here’s your
nice handkerchief! tie your head smart as eber! Here aw you see
de last an de bery best, aw you cum buy um—only a bit and a
half,” (about 6d. sterling.) One cries out—“Pine tarts and
pickled peppers!” while another vociferates—“Nice fat chickens,
ladies, and castor oil!” rather heterogeneous articles, it must
be allowed.

Evening brings no silence with it; for then the _cries_ increase.
“Candles here, ladies! Candles here! hard, like stones—burn like
wax, (in plain English, _soft as butter_,) two for a half-a-bit!”
(2¼d. sterling.) “Here your nice crackers! (small American
biscuits,) seven for a dog! Here your fine coffee! Cigars here!
Cigars here! only cum see, make you buy! Here your nice cakes!—
Fish! fish!! fish!!! just come out of the sea, ladies! ladies!
make haste, an buy dem!”—“Sugar-cakes here! Bread here! Salt fish
here! Cum an look, only cum an see!”—“Goat-meat here, ladies!
Sheep-meat! Vine here! (the vine of the sweet potato, used for
fattening stock.)” “Want any grass? Want any wood? Want any pies?
Sweet _oranger_ here! Ripe pear, really nice!” besides a thousand
other announcements, fill the air, and deafen the hearers. Talk
of _London cries!_ oh! they are mere _whispers_ to the _West
Indian ones!_ The “dustman’s bell,” or the “watchman’s rattle,”
would, I verily believe, pass unnoticed amid their stormy

At the principal market, which is held upon a Saturday, (the
Sunday markets having been abolished, by orders of the
legislature, in 1831,) all kinds of articles may be met with.
Beef, mutton, pork, and goat’s flesh; live pigs, sheep, goats,
and lambs; ducks, fowls, turkeys, geese, and guinea-birds;
potatoes, yams, eddoes, peas, &c.; and fruits of every
description, including the luscious pine-apple, the cooling
melon, the fragrant guava, and the delicious “jelly cocoa-nut.”
The market is also plentifully supplied with varieties of fish;
some of which are very delicious fare. Besides these enumerated
articles, hot soups, boiled horse-beans, boiled peas, and Indian
corn, “fungy and pepperpot,” (a standing Creole dish,) “fried
fish and dumplings,” souse, pigs’ heads, and black puddings, with
all kinds of cakes, bread, “drink,” spruce-beer, Dyer drink,
(made from a peculiar bark,) and different varieties of
sugar-cakes, are exhibited, to allure the eye, and charm the
taste of the sable beauties who attend this mart. Many other
wares are also sold in this place of bustle, which, according to
the Antigua black bellman, would be “to _tedus_ to _’numerate_.”

It was formerly the custom to ring a market-bell at six in the
morning, and the same hour in the evening, and also to have a
clerk of the market, whose duty it was to see that the street
where the market is held was properly swept, and that the people
dispersed upon the ringing of the bell. For his services he
received the sum of 200l. currency per annum; but the legislature
at last thought it a waste of the public money, and within these
few years the office has been disannulled. There is no
markethouse at present, the principal market being held in a long
street running from the court-house to one of the gates of the
churchyard. It was under consideration of the house of assembly,
some time ago, to erect a covered market, but the proposition was

From a visit to the market, we will take another turn, and
accompany the bridal party in their attendance at the altar. In
former days, during the existence of slavery, the ceremony of
marriage was but seldom performed, consequently the nuptial
feasts were “few and far between.” The case, however, is now very
different; for, since the “glorious 1st of August,” (1834,)
weddings are very frequent, and many a grand fête is given in
honour of the “saffron-crowned god.” The first step upon this
eventful occasion is, of course, to get the bans of marriage
published—or, as they term it, “to hab dere name call out”—unless
they can afford to purchase a licence, which is the case with
some. Then comes the purchasing of that “small and holy round,”
the wedding ring, the bridal dresses, and the wedding breakfast.
When all these preliminaries are arranged with satisfaction to
themselves, the next grand point is to borrow, from different
gentlemen, horses, gigs, and phaetons. Not being their own
property, and not often having the _chance_ of shewing off their
knowledge of the “whip,” no mercy is shewn to the unfortunate
animal they that day guide. To give _éclat_ to the wedding-day by
astonishing the inhabitants of the town, the gentlemen drive as
violently as they can up one street, down another, turn the
corners like wildfire, and then, after running over a chicken or
two, or disturbing the ruminations of a few quiet ducks, deposit
their female companion at the church doors, and start away, in
the same random manner, to fetch another fair dame from her
homage at a sixpenny “looking-glass.” It is impossible to
describe the noise and confusion which ensues on mornings when
such deeds are done,—Virgil’s chariot-race was nothing to the
speed with which these aspiring youths urge on the foaming
steeds. The consequence of this is, that the horse is very often
returned to his owner broken-kneed, or else killed upon the spot,
by the shaft of another gig penetrating its chest; and the
carriage left minus a shaft or a wheel.

At length the company assemble in the church, the clergyman
arrives, and the ceremony begins. The “blushing bride” has
frequently to snuff up the fumes of her “eau de Cologne,” to
support her trembling frame in that moment of excitement, and
many a rent is made in the white kid gloves, as such articles are
drawn off to sign the marriage X, when, as it frequently happens,
the art of writing has been dispensed with in their education.
The ceremony over, the party again enter the different vehicles,
and after driving in the manner before described, re-assemble at
the house where the nuptial banquet has been prepared. This is
conducted in similar style to the “ball supper,” already
mentioned; great mirth and jollity prevail at it; the health of
the bride and bridegroom is drunk in “full goblets;” many a loyal
and willing toast, no doubt, given, and then the company
separate. I must not forget to mention that a wedding-cake of
approved dimensions, and splendidly arrayed in gold and silver
leaf is placed in the centre of the table, and calls for many a
sidelong glance from those damsels who, as yet, are doomed to
remain in single blessedness. Sometimes these wedding breakfasts,
or whatever else they choose to term them, are held in the
country; at other times, the company remain in town, and the
bride and bridegroom retire there by themselves to spend a part
of the “honeymoon,” and then return to the capital to receive the
complimentary congratulations of their friends, and make their
appearance at church in their wedding attire.

The dress of the gentlemen upon this eventful occasion is similar
to that worn by them at their balls: brass chains and rings are
rubbed up with chalk in order to restore their pristine
brightness; silk stockings, dyed with the flowers of the Hybiscus
to the colour of a pigeon’s legs; and shops and stores ransacked,
to procure waistcoats and stocks of the brightest dyes. The bride
is generally arrayed in white: if they can raise sufficient
_cash_, white silk, satin, or figured “challis” is the material;
but if the funds are rather _low_, white muslin suffices them.
The bonnets are either white satin, or tuscans trimmed with white
ribbon, and wreaths of white flowers are fashionably arranged on
the left side. Veils are sometimes worn upon these occasions, (to
hide their “_blushes_,”) and “parasols and sandals,” and then the
lady’s dressed. The morning after the wedding, the “bride’s cake”
is sent round to their numerous acquaintance; and then they
return to their usual business and their dishabille, until the
sound of the “Sabbath bell” bids them open their chests of
cedar-wood,[32] and put on their gala-dress. It may be remarked
that the greater part of these “_blushing brides_,” these
“nervous fine ladies,” have been living several years in a state
of concubinage with different persons, and are perhaps the
mothers of several children; but still marriage is a state which
“calls up all our hopes and fears,” and the black buckras[33] (as
these dashing black people are called in this country) think the
ceremony would be incomplete did they not shew forth some
emotion, or call up from their source some of those

    “——————————— drops that fall,
    When the young bride goes from her father’s hall.”

We now come to take a view of their burials. I have in a former
chapter made some mention of these ceremonies; but still there is
a great deal to be said, for be it known, a negro funeral is a
matter of no small importance.

When the intelligence reaches them that one of their friends has
departed to another world, many of them immediately flock to the
residence of the defunct, and are very ready to assist in the
melancholy but necessary offices which are required to be
performed. The first consideration of the relatives is to procure
a coffin, a decent shroud, and a suit of apparel to inter the
corpse in. The coffin is made of deal boards, _not over thick_,
and is covered with black or white cotton cloth, according to the
age or state of the individual; those persons who cannot afford
to purchase cotton for this purpose have the coffin painted black
or white. Among the higher class of negroes the shroud is made of
white mull muslin, but those of less means purchase cotton
cambric, while the _very poor ones_ are enveloped in a sheet. If
the deceased has a pretty good stock of clothes, the best amongst
them are selected for the occasion. Should it be a man who is
dead, he is arrayed in his “Sunday clothes,” with the exception
of coat, shoes, and hat; but if it is a female, her best white
dress is used, a cap trimmed with white ribbon is placed upon her
head, a white band round her waist, silk stockings, and white
gloves. The warmth of the climate necessarily obliges the
interment to take place soon after dissolution; for example, if a
person dies one day, he is buried the next. The intervening night
is called by the negroes “wake night;” and about seven or eight
in the evening a great number of persons of both sexes meet at
the house of death to assist in keeping the “wake.” This is
understood to mean, the singing of psalms and hymns over the
corpse; but, in most cases, while the females are so employed in
one part of the house, the young men are laughing, talking, or
playing off practical jokes upon some one whom they deem not
quite so wise as themselves. It sounds very melancholy, should
you chance to be awake at the solemn hour of midnight, to hear
these persons chanting forth their sacred lays, and as the breeze
sweeps its strain to and from your ear, memory “starts up
alarmed, and o’er life’s narrow verge looks down” upon a
“fathomless abyss.” But in the midst of these thoughts the
heartless laugh breaks upon your ear, like the voice of some
scoffing demon; and “so dies in human hearts the thoughts of
death,” for “all men think all men mortal _but themselves!_”

About five o’clock in the morning, coffee, bread, biscuits, and
cheese, are handed round, and then the company depart, until such
hour as the funeral is arranged to take place. Some of the
nearest friends or relations, however, remain all the time, and
of course partake of the different meals provided; for there is
one thing worthy of note in these negro-funerals—grief never
spoils their appetites. If the person dies in the country, it is
sometimes the practice to bring them into town during the night;
at other times, the funeral takes place in whatever part of the
island they may chance to reside in. The company assemble to a
town-funeral about four o’clock, and (a multiplicity of chairs
having been borrowed from the neighbours for the occasion) seat
themselves, the women in the house, and the men on the shady side
of the street; but as for thinking of _death_, and its important
consequences, it is as far from them as if they were at a ball or
a play. They laugh, they joke, they make bargains, and they
discuss the news of the day, and think no more of the inanimate
corpse within, than if it had been a waxen figure, or an ideal
form. I am sorry to add, that it is not the negroes alone who
exhibit this utter thoughtlessness of heart upon these melancholy
occurrences, as I shall have further to mention when I come to
speak of the superior grades of society. But to resume our
subject: about the time the company are assembled, and the
bearers arrayed in white or black cotton scarfs and hat-bands,
according to the age of the deceased, the hearse arrives; for, it
is to be remarked, it is but seldom that a funeral takes place in
Antigua without the attendance of one of those “carriages for the
dead.” The hearses are rather differently constructed from those
used in England, having more the appearance of a van painted
black. There is a top to them in a kind of half-pyramidal form,
mounted by a few brown-black or dirty white feathers; the body of
the hearse is partly railed round, so that the coffin can be
seen, and a door opens behind. They are drawn by two sorry
horses, one perhaps white and the other brown; or, as is often
the case, one a horse about twelve hands high, its companion a
Canadian poney, rough and shaggy as one of the Shetland breed.
Another observable fact is, that these animals are generally as
opposite in tempers as they are in appearance, so that while one
is wishful of going to the east, the other has an incontrollable
desire of proceeding in the opposite direction. This, as may be
supposed, leads to a violent contention between them and the
driver keeps the company standing in the streets and often
endangers even the safety of the vehicle. A stranger could not
fail to notice all these particularities, and also the indecent
manner in which the hearse is driven to the house where the
corpse is, and upon its return from the place of interment—
namely, as fast as the two horses can possibly be urged.

Another matter of surprise to a stranger is to see the prodigious
number of persons which attend these funerals, often consisting
of from four to five hundred, and very seldom less than from two
to three. These persons are arranged as follows:—The nearest
members of the family walk immediately after the hearse; if the
deceased is a man, then follow a number of that sex, then a
number of women, after them men again, and so on until the
procession is complete. On the contrary, should the corpse be
that of a female, the women precede the men; the train is
sometimes so long, that it reaches the entire length of a street.
Of course it is not to be supposed that all this multitude is
habited in black; from the short time which intervenes between
the demise and the interment, even the family are unable to
procure mourning, unless, as it sometimes happens, they may
chance to have those sable garments by them; the consequence of
this is, that the procession presents a most motley group. Some
of the followers are indeed habited in black; some in white, with
a little black ribbon and a coloured bonnet; but the greater part
appear in the various hues of the rainbow. As before remarked, at
these funerals almost all their friends give something, if it is
but a bottle of wine, or a small quantity of tobacco, and so
universal is this practice, that I knew a servant who refused to
attend the funeral of his father, because he had not money enough
to give. It used to be the custom in former times, to hand round
to the company cake, wine, rum and water, porter and “drink,” but
this is now dispensed with; the greater part of the assemblage
follow the corpse to the place of burial, and then disperse. When
a funeral takes place in the country, however, a grand dinner is
generally provided for the company after the ceremony is over;
and on these occasions all is mirth and joy, and the cup and the
glass is so often replenished, that many of the party return home
in a state of intoxication. It is among the Moravian
congregations the largest funeral processions are seen, the
reason of which is as follows:—As is the case in the established
church, and with the Methodists, the Moravians have formed a
society among their own people, in which every member throws in a
certain sum monthly, and when attacked by illness a doctor is
found them and so much per week allowed until they recover. When
any of these members of the Moravian society die, it is incumbent
upon the rest to follow the deceased to the grave, or if they
fail in so doing, a fine of 2s. currency is imposed upon them;
the consequence is, that, as few like to pay this penalty, they
endeavour upon all occasions to be present.

A christening sometimes gives rise to another entertainment,
although, of course, not so grand as a wedding or a ball; fruit,
cakes, and wine forming the principal repast. The baby is very
smartly dressed in a long white robe, smart cap or bonnet, and is
carried in the arms of one who acts for the day as an attendant,
with a parasol held over it to screen it from the sun’s rays,
although at other times it is exposed to every change of
temperature with scarcely anything to cover it. In former times,
the negroes were generally known by the names of “Sambo,”
“Pompey,” “Quashy,” “Quasheba,” &c., &c., but those days have
long ago passed. The “march of intellect” has marched into the
West Indies, and we now have “Arabella Christiana,” “Adeline
Floretta,” “Rosalind Monimia,” &c., for the girls; and “Augustus
Henry,” “Alonzo Frederick,” “Octavius Edward,” and similar
_high-sounding_ names for the boys. “What’s in a name?” is a
query. I think a great deal; but really it is perfectly
ridiculous to hear such aristocratic appellations applied to your
servants. The parents are not always satisfied with even two
names, but are unconscionable enough to add a _third_. To hear
them accosted by these lengthy names brings to recollection “Miss
Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs,” whom Goldsmith has


[31] A large bird mentioned in the travels of Sinbad the Sailor,
a tale in the “Arabian Nights.”

[32] A chest made of cedar, for the purpose of containing their
wearing apparel, is looked upon by the negroes as quite
indispensable; and consequently, there are but few among them who
do not lay by part of their earnings, that they may be enabled to
procure one.

[33] It may be necessary to remark, that the word _buckra_, in
the negro tongue, signifies “a white person;” but as the smart
people I have been describing imitate in everything _fairer
brethren_, they are ironically termed “black buckras.”

                          CHAPTER XL.

  Negroes: Further sentences upon “dress”—Sunday transformations—
  The black cook and his metamorphosis—Christmas waits—Negro
  houses—The mode of building upon estates—Town negro houses—
  Architecture—The mode of moving houses.

I have in so many places made reference to the style of dress
adopted by the negroes, that to bring it under a particular head
may be deemed superfluous. And yet I cannot let it pass without
saying something more upon this subject.

I must own I was very much surprised, on first arriving in
Antigua, at the style of dress adopted by these people. That the
negroes were very fond of adorning themselves I was well aware,
but I thought it consisted in a display of what we should term
_trumpery_, such as the worn-out garments of their superiors
which had once been smart; but I was soon undeceived. It was
during the jovial season of Christmas I first made my appearance
in this island, a time of all others devoted by the negroes to
the purpose of exhibiting the contents of their wardrobes.
Christmas-day, and the two succeeding days, are, in this country,
exclusively termed “Christmas;” and poor indeed must be the negro
who does not sport a new dress upon that occasion, even if they
have to wear nothing but rags for the rest of the year. Those of
the _fair sex_ who can afford it, generally purchase three
dresses; one to wear each day, and formed of various materials,
such as silks, (figured and plain,) satins, mousseline de laines,
challis, crapes of different names and textures, or handsome
white muslin robes variously embroidered. The fashion now in
vogue among these _ladies_ is, to have the skirt of their dresses
dropping on the ground for about a quarter of a yard in length,
the bottom terminated by two rows of flounces, _demi-bishop_
sleeves, and pointed corsages. But the great novelty is in the
arrangement of the different tints, most of them thinking they
are not sufficiently well-dressed if they leave out any of the
prismatic colours. The bonnets are worn just at the back of their
heads, and often present a singular appearance. A negress lately
presented herself to my notice, whose dress deserves particular
attention. Her daily business is to work in the cane-field, and
for some time past I had been used to see her bringing grass for
the use of our horses in a state approximating to nudity. Upon
the Sunday she honoured me with a call the case was, however,
very different. Her dress of figured white muslin was profusely
ornamented with pink ribbon and fringe of the same gay tint, her
silk stockings were “ditto to match,” and her shoes yellow, with
white sandals. But her bonnet struck me as most particular; it
was formed of that material called “Tuscan,” lined with green,
trimmed with pink, and further decorated with a prodigy among
flowers, a blue rose with silver leaves!

Another very favourite article of dress amongst these black
belles, is what they term “a Victoria cloak,” which is nothing
more or less than a square of coarse net, tamboured, in the
commonest manner, in large flowers; but which, like everything
else of the present day, is named after the queen. I am sure, did
her majesty but know how her name is applied to all kinds of
articles, from a steam-coach in England, to a lap-dog here, she
must think herself greatly honoured! I have already spoken of
their splendid jewellery, and therefore it only remains for me to
mention, that elaborately worked collars, with three rows of
cotton lace round them, fancy reticules, coloured boots and
shoes, and parasols, are to be found composing a part of their
attire. The latter mentioned articles are unfurled, and twirled
about by the young ladies with peculiar grace; but those who are
less modish in their manners generally close them, and carry them
over the right shoulder, with the end sticking up like the point
of a bayonet. A few years ago, the negroes were accustomed to tie
their heads with Madras handkerchiefs of the brightest dyes, or
else wear large leghorn or silk hats, covered with flowers and
ribands; but since emancipation, bonnets are most generally worn,
particularly among the young, although some still prefer the use
of the hat.

The gentlemen negroes present also a most _dandified_ appearance.
Surtouts or coats of different colour, with velvet collars,
splendid waistcoats, white or coloured trousers, with very
high-heeled boots, are most in vogue. It is customary with these
beaux, when they order a pair of boots, to give particular
injunctions to the cordwainer, to make them in such a manner that
they may “stamp and creak well,” when they wear them. To these
specified articles of dress, must be added broad-brimmed hats,
silk umbrellas, (if they can get them, if not, cotton suffices;
but a negro never thinks himself well arrayed without this
article,) and pocket handkerchiefs, one end making its appearance
from the coat pocket. The persons who dress in this manner are
generally coblers, tinkers, carpenters, bricklayers, and
servants. It is almost impossible to know your own domestics, so
great are their metamorphoses.

In the ship which conveyed us hither, was a black man, who
officiated as cook. Our first place of destination, after leaving
England, was British America, where we arrived in the beginning
of a very severe winter. Sincerely did I pity this poor man, for
his scant and tattered clothing was no protection from the
pitiless blast, and excessive cold of that hyperborean clime.
Being a native of so warm a country as the West Indies, and
having never before experienced the rigours of winter, it was
with some difficulty he could bear up against this (to him)
accumulation of ills. His custom was to remain in the steerage of
the ship, and when any of his messmates tried to arouse him, and
invite him to visit the deck, his only answer was, “I brought all
my fingers and toes from Antigua, and please God, I must try and
carry them back again.” After remaining in America for some time,
(suffering _hot aches_, and I know not what beside,) until the
ship had discharged her cargo of _interesting_ emigrants, and
re-loaded with that necessary article “lumber,” (_alias_ timber,)
we took our departure, with many a favour of “King Frost’s”
hanging about our vessel, in the shape of huge blocks of ice. A
pretty fair wind soon carried us into warmer latitudes, and I
used frequently to remark, how delighted that _poor half-clothed_
man must be. “Oh! oh!” was the answer, “that poor half-clothed
man, as you call him, is a very respectable and dashing fellow, I
do assure you, in his own country.” I thought this assertion
bordering upon the burlesque, but I made no reply, wisely
remembering the old saying, “Time will shew all things.”

At length, after encountering, as every other mortal must, calms
as well as storms, one bright morning brought us to the shores of
fair Antigua. This, as I have before remarked, was during the
season of Christmas, the time for fun and dress among the
negroes. The morning after we landed, I early shook off “tired
nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep,” and hurried over the
duties of the toilet in order that I might look about me, and see
what kind of _bipeds_ I had fallen in with. I had not long left
my apartment when I saw a very dashing-looking gentleman enter
the back gate, and approach the door near which I was standing,
admiring the bright sun and blue sky of this December morning. It
certainly struck me as rather surprising, that a gentleman of his
appearance should enter by that part of the house usually
appropriated to the servants, but I supposed it was one of “the
customs” of the country. Not wishing to be in that disagreeable
situation of having to introduce myself, I retired into an inner
apartment; but ere long I learnt, to my great surprise, that the
“_exquisite_,” whose appearance caused my sudden departure, was
no less a personage than the black cook from on board the ship.

Christmas is also the season here, as in England, for roast-beef,
plum-pudding, and plum-cake; most of the negroes endeavour to get
_one_ of these articles, should they not be able to procure them
all; but if their pockets are too low to do this, they purchase a
few raisins to treat their friends with. “Christmas day” is
ushered in with the sound of fiddles and drums; parties of
negroes going round the town about four o’clock in the morning,
playing upon these instruments for the purpose of breaking
people’s rest, (for I am sure it cannot amuse;) and then they
have the assurance to call at the different houses during the day
for payment. At the conclusion of this serenade, or _waits_, or
whatever else they choose to term it, the musicians generally
raise their voices to the highest pitch, and call out, “Good
morning to you, massa; good morning to you, missis; good morning
to you, ladies and gentlemen _all!_” a flourish is then given
with fiddle and drum, and they march off to disturb another quiet

The next point to be considered is the dwellings of the negroes.
The generality of negro houses upon estates contain two
apartments, and are built of stone, cemented by a rough mortar.
The roofs are composed of _trash_ (the dry leaves of the
sugar-cane), loosely piled on, which gives them an untidy
appearance. Some of the industrious people, however, greatly add
to the look of the interior, by neatly ceiling them with the
split boughs of the cocoa-nut, formed into a kind of basket-work.
The best huts have the hall, or sitting-room, paved with bricks,
or a kind of smooth cement, and the sleeping-apartment boarded.
Among the articles of furniture may be found sofas, sideboards of
manchineel, (or some other species of native wood,) mahogany and
deal tables, and a large cedar chest. Besides these articles,
some of them possess decanters, tumblers, wine-glasses, and a
large bowl to make their punch in, with plates and dishes,
tea-cups, and various other kinds of gaudy crockeryware. These
are the residences of the head negroes; the next kind have their
stone-houses unceiled, and only the bare earth for their floor;
they contain but little furniture, two or three chairs of the
country make, a deal table, and a wooden box or two being their
principal stock. Some estates have fallen into a plan of building
their negro-houses entirely of wood, as it has been found that
the negroes prefer hiring themselves where such dwellings have
been provided for them.

Since emancipation, many proprietors have disposed of part of
their uncultivated lands to the negroes, which are divided into
lots, measuring 30 feet one way, and 40 the other, at 30 dollars,
or 6l. sterling per lot. Upon these spots of ground, the
purchasers have erected houses, some of them very neatly
finished, and containing two rooms, a hall, and chamber; and here
they reside, supporting themselves by working upon different
estates, (where they obtain higher wages than the resident
labourers, on account of not being provided with houses or negro
grounds;) huckstering, or else working their own land. In some
parts of the island, whole villages are formed in this manner;
and from the similarity of the dwellings, and their several
little patches of ground, laid out in rows of different luxuriant
edibles, present, altogether, a very pleasing appearance. Some of
the poorer negroes build their houses in the following manner. A
sufficient number of stakes are firmly driven into the ground at
regular distances; these are interwoven with the branches of the
“black cherry,” (a native wood,) stript of their leaves, and the
interstices filled up with clay. The roofs are composed of a
species of coarse grass (called by the negroes, “hurricane
grass,” on account of its wild growth,) fastened on with the bark
of the “soursop tree.” I cannot speak much for the apparent
comfort of these last-mentioned dwellings; there is one thing,
however, to be considered, warmth is not necessary in this
climate, yet, I should think, the heavy rains which fall at times
must penetrate them, and render their clayey floors still more
unpleasant. The fire with which the negroes cook their victuals
is always made in the open air, unless they fence in a small
portion of ground, and loosely throw a bundle of dry cane-leaves
on the top, in which case it frequently answers for stable and

Those negroes who reside in the capital invariably have their
houses built of wood; they seldom consist of more than one room,
in which a whole family, of perhaps six or eight persons, eat,
sleep, and live; and from whence issue, upon a Sunday, those
_ladies_ and _gentlemen_ who equal in splendour of dress the
habitants of princely halls. The form of architecture is very
simple; four sides, of equal length, breadth, and height, are
first erected, and the whole surmounted by what is called a
_pitched_ roof, which also consists of four uniform sides,
meeting at the top in a pyramidical form. For further protection
from the weather, this roof is covered thickly over with
“shingles,” (flat pieces of board, manufactured in America, for
that purpose, from the wood of the cypress, or cedar,) which are
put on in the same manner as slates. Some of these dwellings have
doors facing to each of the cardinal points, besides a window or
two; so that, when agreeable, they can have a free circulation of
air. When I speak of windows, it must not be understood I mean
such as contain any portion of glass; but simply what Dr. Johnson
calls them, “an opening in a house for light and air.” These
houses are generally left destitute of any outward colouring,
except what they acquire from exposure to the weather, but when
paint is made use of, the favourite tints are yellow for the
sides, and red for the roof and doors. As I have before hinted,
many of these small houses are built by pilfering a board or a
plank at a time, or now and then a few shingles. It often
happens, that dwellings which are erected upon this plan, take
some time before they are completed. To assure myself of this
assertion, I need only raise my eyes from my paper, and one of
these _contributory_ edifices greets my view. It was commenced
before I came to the island; and after remaining here for about
two years, and returning to England for near the same period,
upon my second visit to Antigua, I found the house not quite
finished. I could not help observing this house during its tardy
erection; a stroke or two of the hammer now and then broke upon
the silent ear of night, and in the morning it might be perceived
that another board had been added to the side, or a few more
shingles nailed upon the roof. It most frequently happens, that
the possessors of these small tenements have no land of their
own, but pay a small ground-rent for the space occupied by their
habitations. When they are wishful of removing to another part of
the town, like the snail, they carry their houses with them,
which, from the manner of construction, is no difficult matter.
These buildings are always raised a little way from the ground,
and have a step or two at the principal entrance. Sometimes the
space between the ground and the house is entirely filled up with
loose bricks or stones; others have only an empty barrel, or a
few stones piled up at each corner, just sufficient to support
the fabric.

When a removal is agreed upon, their first care is to hire a few
porters, and an accompaniment of trucks. These “four-wheeled”
carriages are firmly fastened together, and placed under the
house, the slight foundation pulled away, and strong ropes being
attached to the first truck, the porters (with the assistance of
other men, women, and children) commence pulling with all their
might, and the house moves off to the song and chorus adapted to
the occasion. To preserve its equilibrium, two men march on each
side of the house with long poles, which they place against the
side; one of these commences the song, (which is of their own
composition,) and the whole tribe join in the chorus of “Pull
away, my hearties,” or similar phrases. In former times, when the
negroes had only the Sunday allowed them to perform any of their
own work, that day was used to execute these removals; but the
noise it occasioned during the period of Divine service was such,
that the legislature found it necessary to prohibit this practice
at the same time they abolished the Sunday markets.

It is particularly disagreeable to be in the vicinity of these
houses when their owners take it into their heads to remove them.
The negroes are always noisy; but when such deeds are in
contemplation, they are more so than ever; the songs they sing,
the quarrels they have, and the language they use, would tire the
patience of the most stoical. Sometimes a sudden crash is heard,
and the whole edifice comes tumbling to the ground; this leads to
another “wordy war,”—the goddess Discord again waves aloft her
arm,—the whole neighbourhood is in commotion,—and poor I (who,
alas! am a most _unwilling_, but compulsory listener) cannot help
exclaiming—“Oh! that I were in dear old England, where at least
the houses are not moved.”

                          CHAPTER XLI.

  Negroes: Occupations—Agricultural labourers—Black sailors—Their
  excessive gormandizing—The hungry captain’s disappointment—
  Black cooks—“Melted butter”—A receipt for a cookery book—The
  obtrusive fish—Grooms and “house boys”—An old planter’s opinion
  —Concluding remarks.

After mentioning the recreations, dress, and general habits of
the negroes, it may be necessary to give some account of their
principal occupations. By far the greater part of the black
population, as will be seen in the statistical portion of this
work, are employed in the cultivation of the sugar-cane, which,
although very laborious, pays them better than any other work.
When engaged in this pursuit, the hours of labour are as follows:
—the bell rings at six o’clock in the morning, and the negroes
proceed to the field, and remain there until nine, when the bell
again rings, and they go to their breakfast; an hour being
allowed for that purpose, they enter the field at ten, and remain
until twelve, when they leave for their dinners; at two they
resume their labours, which continue until six, when their daily
work is finished. It must be remarked, that during the short
days, they scarcely reach the field until near eight; and just as
the sun begins to sink, they confidently assert it is after six,
and refuse to work any longer, let the hour be what it may.
During the time of slavery, such women as were nursing did not
commence working until seven o’clock; but in these days of
freedom, they do not resume the hoe until their children are nine
or ten months old. Some of the negroes gain a very plentiful
subsistence, by buying a horse and cart, and carting manure to
the different estates; others again will agree with a planter to
do a certain portion of work; they procure other labourers, and
when the work is finished, they divide the profits; but let them
do whatever they will, they contrive to make such bargains, that
they never fail in obtaining a _good supply_ of that necessary

Besides agricultural labourers, there are a great many artisans,
fishermen, and sailors. With regard to these last, I cannot say
whether they are very _firm_ in times of _danger_; but from
ocular demonstration, I can assert, that when the sky and sea
looks fair, they are very careless, although, from July to
October, the West Indian seas are very liable to sudden squalls.
These black sailors generally confine themselves to the
navigation of the Caribbean Sea, making voyages in small vessels
to the different islands. Very few of them know all the points of
the compass, some of them not any—their manner of steering being
more after the manner of the ancients. They see the sun when he
rises, and they know that is the east; they observe him when he
sets, and that, they are aware, is the west. Their mode of
proceeding when upon these voyages is, to keep within sight of
land as much as they can; and in most parts, the channels between
the different islands are so narrow, that this is not difficult;
but to make a bold stretch across, so as to lose all landmarks,
they seldom or never think of. The greatest peculiarity among
these black sailors is their extreme voracity—never were there
greater eaters. In my frequent voyages in these small vessels to
the other islands, I have had numberless opportunities of
observing this; for from the confinement of the cabins, and the
great heat of the climate, the deck is the only supportable part
of the vessel, and there it is the sailors partake of their
dinners. Such piggins of _fungy_, with accompaniments of rice or
potatoes, salt fish, or beef, as I have then seen consumed, and
in such a short period, is really marvellous! Even when at the
helm, they are occupied in eating biscuit, of which they
generally manage to have their pockets full.

Upon one occasion, I was coming from St. Kitts to Antigua, on
board one of these small craft. The second day from our leaving,
the sailors caught a very large sucking-fish, (_remora_,) which
was scarcely pulled upon the deck, before they commenced the
operation of cooking it. The “captain,” as he termed himself, was
that day unfortunately tormented by a violent headache; and after
seeing their prize safely deposited in a huge kettle of water,
laid himself down to sleep, in hopes of getting rid of his
unwelcome visitant. “Soft slumber” sealed his eye for many an
hour; but when at length he awoke, his first demand was for some
of the tempting dish, whose early stage of cookery he had so ably
inspected. “All eat,” was the consoling reply to a hungry man. It
was certainly provoking, and so he seemed to think; for he put
himself into a violent passion immediately. “War for you eat aw
dat fish for, eh? fish big so to. War for you go do so? You aw
too much greedy—you aw reg’lar nagers.” And with much growling
and grumbling, he was obliged to solace his unappeasable appetite
with a hard biscuit, instead of his favourite fare.

This _penchant_ for eating among the negro sailors is universally
known. I have heard it remarked, by a gentleman of Antigua, (in
answer to some query upon the subject,)—“Oh! have nothing to do
with small vessels; or, if you _have_, on no account provision
them, but rather pay them so much a week to find themselves; for
those black sailors are never satisfied—they will be eating
eleven hours in the day, and on the twelfth they are, or rather
_pretend_ to be, hungry. This, I am sure, is the fault of their
mothers during infancy; for their common cry to them is—‘Eat, me
pic’nee, eat; fill youself, an den go sleep;’ so that the custom
grows upon them to that degree, that when they become men, they
cannot break themselves of it.” So much for the remark; those who
are acquainted with the subject will, I think, readily assent to
the truth of it.

In times of slavery, it was customary, among some owners or
managers of slaves, to allow such negroes as were not employed in
the cane-field the privilege of hiring themselves out to
strangers, providing they regularly paid to their masters a
certain sum weekly from the wages they received. Many of them
acquired a good sum by this permission; while others, again,
although they earned high wages, had to pay so large a proportion
to their proprietors, that they were not so well off in pecuniary
matters as those negroes who remained upon the property. Still,
they were comparatively more their own masters; and so dear to
every breast is freedom, that they preferred doing so, and
gaining less.

Another large body of negroes are to be met with as domestic
servants. That there are some good servants among them none can
deny; but I am sorry to say, they are seldom met with. In
general, the men make better domestics than the females. Some of
those who hire themselves as cooks are very clever in their
profession, and will dress turtle in various delectable forms,
equal, if not superior, to the vaunted cooks at “Cornhill,” or
the celebrated “M. de Barre” (late cook to Louis XVIII.) himself.
This is to be the more wondered at, as they have not half the
conveniences in the culinary departments as their brother cooks
on the other side of the water; on the contrary, many an
invention has to issue from their teeming brain, before they can
arrange these matters to their satisfaction. But one precaution
must be carefully observed, in order to insure success: in
cookery, they must be left entirely to their own discretion—no
improvement proposed; for either they are obstinately bent on
following their own plan, and will not adopt any other, or else
they do not fully understand their instructions; and what was
intended as an improvement will result in failure.

It is the practice in Antiguan cookery, when “melted butter” is
used, merely to oil it, and send it to table in that state, which
to many strangers proves disagreeable. Soon after my arrival in
this country, I begged the cook to adopt some other plan,
explaining at the same time, to the best of my abilities, how it
was commonly done in England. The next day, at dinner, there was
something “in such a” _very_ “questionable shape” upon the table,
that I was fain to summon Mr. Cook from his tenement, to ask what
it might be. “Melted butter, missis,” quoth the knight of pots
and kettles. “_Melted butter!_—impossible! it has more the
appearance of pudding, boiled like the French cook’s, without a
cloth.” “Eh, eh, missis, war for you go call him pudding? you no
tell me put flower in de butter—it _dat_ make him ’top so!” I was
confounded. After my learned dissertation upon melted butter the
day before, (which, by-the-bye, I borrowed from the worthy Dr.
Kitchener himself,) to be served in this manner was too bad;
however, it taught me never for the future to interfere with his

They have some peculiarities in dressing different meats in
Antigua which I have never heard of being practised in other
countries, although it must be owned my knowledge in such matters
is very limited, not having devoted much of my time to studying
the “Cook’s Oracle;” indeed, (the truth must be spoken,) I am
better pleased to form an acquaintance with ragouts, or any other
dainties, when they are upon the table, than I am to inspect
their various formations, or become versed in their different
modes of cookery. But as some of my readers may, with Peter
Pindar, be fond of peeping into pots and pans, I will, for their
benefit, try to elucidate kitchen mysteries for once in my life,
and expound to them the method of _doving_ meat, as the Antiguan
cooks term such process. The first point to be achieved is, of
course, to procure the meat, and then to see that the “igneous
element,” as Mr. Dryden learnedly calls fire, has attained a
sufficient degree of heat. These preliminary matters being
adjusted, an iron pot is made thoroughly hot, the meat placed in
it without the aid of water, and the utensil carefully covered
over. In this fiery durance it is allowed to remain until one
side becomes of an approved brown; it is then turned to another,
until at length it arrives at that state of superexcellence,
that, like “Sancho Panza’s cow’s heel,” it has only to cry “Come
eat me, come eat me!”

The greatest fault to be found with these kitchen gentry, these
black cooks of Antigua, is, that while from various meats and
spices they are compounding ambrosial food for their masters,
they forget the rules of equity, and, like the lordly lion of the
forest, keep the largest share for themselves. This is done with
impunity by all the class; they dread not even the “strong arm of
the law,” nor exempt the lawyers themselves from this exaction,
if report speaks true. When discovered in these petty thefts,
they use the greatest art to make you believe it is a mistake, a
slip of (not the tongue, but) the fingers, and, consequently, not
their fault; or else, that “_somebody_” did the deed, and laid
the blame at their door.

A gentleman proprietor of this island had a servant living with
him who was famed for practising this particular species of
depredation, quite an adept in the art, and who at the same time
possessed a tongue well versed in the doctrine of excuses. Many
and oft have been the occasions when this sable offender has
appropriated to his own share the eatables which ought to have
graced his master’s table, and yet escaped without reproof. But
one day, (for so the Fates had willed it,) being pressed for
time, “Lemon” was obliged to transfer to his _pocket_, instead of
a place of more approved security, a fish he had adroitly managed
to purloin, and hurry into the dining-room, (in his double
capacity of cook and footman,) with the remainder properly dished
up. “Truth,” says the old proverb, “will pop out its head;” and
although the stubborn fish did not exactly do that, it made
amends by popping out its _tail_, and proved to the master’s eye
the undeniable fact of his servant’s deviation. Unconscious that
his silent but no less true accuser had betrayed him, the faulty
cook kept his stand, until, at length, his master, pointing at
the same time to the purloined luxury, inquired, “Lemon, what is
that you have in your pocket?” His blushes, if he knew how to
blush, were effectually concealed by the blackness of his skin,
while, with the counterfeit surprise of innocence, he replied to
this question by asking another: “Pocket, massa? war pocket?” And
then, turning his eye to that particular part of his garment, and
perceiving in a moment that the presence of the obtruding fish
could not be denied, with ready cunning, he continued, “You see
dat, massa? you see dat, missis? you eber see how ‘de ebil’
(witchcraft) follow me! Ebil come quite in me pocket, come put
fish dere, so make you aw tink me go tief it!” Oh, worthy Lemon!
oh, noble son of Ham! hadst thou lived in the days when Jupiter
and his train peopled bright Olympus, undoubtedly thou wouldst
have been turned into a constellation as a reward for thy

Among the grooms and “house-boys” (as the Antiguans call their
domestic men-servants) there are also some to be met with who
have a fair character for general good behaviour, but they are
rare instances—seldom found. The greater part of the grooms are
too fond of galloping their masters’ horses, (a practice common
with most negroes, who will ride almost as soon as they can
walk;) and with respect to the latter-mentioned class, indolence
and prevarication form (as we have already seen) too often the
predominant traits in their character.

Another peculiarity among this tribe is the freedom with which
they address their employers. This has even increased, if
anything, since emancipation; for now they are free, they appear
to think themselves upon an equality with the highest in the
land. They condescend, it is true, to take your money, but at the
same time seem to think it a degradation to do your work. If it
is necessary to find fault with any part of their conduct, they
generally return a saucy answer, or else make this rejoinder—
“Bery well, as we can’t agree, we best part; me no care to hire
meself out again;” and immediately collecting their different
articles together, (including, perhaps, some belonging to their
master or mistress, of course by mistake!) away they go, and the
only plan you can adopt is, to procure another domestic in their
place, who, perhaps, acts even worse.

I would not wish to be thought unreasonably prepossessed in
favour of my own country-people, but, conscientiously speaking, I
have never met with one black domestic who acts with the same
degree of propriety as most of the English servants do. If you
keep them at their proper distance, they become dissatisfied, and
complain of your being harsh to them; if, on the contrary, you
shew them any degree of attention, and try to make their
situation as comfortable as possible, they then assume too much,
and entirely forget the difference of rank. Try to serve them,
and it is ten chances to one you make them your enemy; do them
ninety-nine favours, and refuse the hundredth, and you are
reviled and blamed as if you had injured them.

An old English gentleman, who had spent the greater part of his
life in Antigua, and who has several hundreds of these people
under his control, used to say, that “the worse you behave to a
negro, the better he behaves to you.” This is a doctrine,
however, which I do not admit, let the negro character be as
defective as it may.

Oh! slavery, slavery! when will all the train of evils thou hast
originated cease? when will thy pestilential influence be
abolished in these beautiful, but (I must add it) crime-stained
islands? Another and another generation will have to pass away
ere prejudice is no more—ere suspicion is lulled to sleep, before
the servant will learn to look up to his master as his protector,
and the master view without distrust the services of his
domestic, and find in him an humble friend.

                         CHAPTER XLII.

  Negroes: Employment of the women—Washing—A scene at the pond—
  Conversations—The sea-side—“Water frolic”—Hucksters—“Damaged
  flour”—Female porters—Masculine appearance of some of the
  females—Indelicacy—Their mode of carrying burdens.

Having given a short sketch of the manner in which the generality
of the negro-men employ their time, it will be proper also to
mention the occupation of the females. Many of these still follow
the employment to which they have been habituated from their
youth, the cultivation of the sugar-cane. But others, although
used to it in their days of slavery, now they have become free,
look upon it as degrading; and therefore, quitting the estates to
which they formerly belonged, and all the privileges incident to
their country-life, they hire a small house in some of the alleys
or outskirts of the capital, and there take up their abode. Among
this class of women, washing and huckstering are the principal
employments; and it is from the profits arising from these means
that they are enabled to bring up their daughters in comparative
idleness, and send them forth on Sundays dressed in the
ridiculous style I have already described.

It may not be deemed superfluous to remark how differently
_washing_ is conducted in Antigua to the mode pursued in England.
There, among the good housewives who preside over such ablutions,
it generally occasions gloom and discontent, particularly if the
weather proves foul when the _water frolic_ takes place; in that
case (as the song says)—

    “The very kittens on the hearth,
    They dare not even play;
    But away they jump, with many a thump,
    Upon a washing day.”

But in this country, where blue skies and sun-shiny days
predominate, the case is quite the reverse.

Groups of washerwomen may be seen in the morning with large
bundles of clothes upon their heads, their half-naked “pic’nees”
clinging round their hips, and similarly accoutred little urchins
running by their side, wending their way to some of the ponds
near the outskirts of the town. When arrived at the place
favourable for such sports or occupations, their bundles are
first put down, their youngest children placed upon the ground
with one of larger growth to watch over it, their own dress
properly arranged, and then the business of the day commences.

The clothes are thrown into the pond, and allowed to remain there
until completely saturated with water; they are then taken out,
placed upon large stones, (which are generally to be found about
such spots,) and holding a piece of wood (in shape like a
cricket-bat, which they call a beetle) in their hands, they
commence pounding the articles with all their might, utterly
regardless of loss of buttons, causing large rents, or any other
_et cetera_ which may chance to happen. When they think the
clothes are sufficiently _washed_, (if that term can be applied
to this operation,) they are again steeped in the pond, rinsed
out, and then spread along the ground, to imbibe the heat of the
glaring sun.

All the time the labour of the hands is going on, the tongue is
by no means idle. The news of the island is discussed; dress,
dances, and religion, descanted on; and the songs upon
individuals (already alluded to) composed. One party of staid
matrons commence a conversation. “You no go prayers last night;
bery well; massa miss yo—why yo no go? Don’t you ’member what
godmodder (as they call their leaders in the Moravian society)
say ’bout aunty Nanny, ’cause she no go get her speak last
time?[34] Well! sure the Lor’ he one good Lor’, (what you keep
bawling so for, you cross pic’nee, eh?—me no gee you one cane to
suck, you good-for-noting you!” addressed by way of parenthesis
to a little crawling _black-a-moor_, who, unable to gain its
mother’s attention by more pleasing means, is compelled to raise
its ‘importunate call;’) yes, me dear sister, de Lor’ one good
Lor’, and massa parson talk all good talk.” Another party of
giddy, laughing girls, chatter away in a different strain. “I
say, Ange’, (Angelina,) you see dem _challis_ se (sister) Eleanor
hab selling last week? Well, I buy one, only it no make yet,
’cause I no get money ’nough to buy de black lace to trim it.
I’se wants to hab it make like dat buckra lady’s frock, she as
come from England the oder day.”—“No, me no seed em; me buy one
robe dress Christmas gone. But did you hear ’bout se
Margate?”—“No; war ’bout she?”—“Eh! eh! you no hear. Why, last
night she war coming home past were de old play-house used to
’tan, when just as she get close de wall, dere she see one big
ole jumby man—ugly so! most kill her, she so frighten. Bery well!
she try to run, but he old jumby knock her down, fall to lick
(_flog_) her in such a manner dat she hab feber all last
night.”—“Eh! eh! poor Margate! you b’lieve me, me no tink me dare
go by de ole play-house at night den.”

With conversations such as these they endeavour to lighten their
labours; and during the time the clothes are drying, some form
themselves into parties, and dance on the greensward to the music
of their own voices; others nurse their little children, or boil
their lunch (gipsy fashion;) while the more idle ones stretch
themselves upon the grass, and sleep away the hours until the
cleansed garments are perfectly dry, when they collect their
different articles, and march off to their respective dwellings
in the same manner as they came.[35]

As remarked at the commencement of this chapter, among those
black women resident in the capital, are to be found an immense
number of hucksters; indeed, in every street, at every corner,
they are to be met with. These persons deal in different
articles; some in cloth of various fabrics, threads, tapes,
laces, &c.; some in salt-fish, corn-meal, (the flour from the
Indian corn,) rice, &c.; and others in fruits, vegetables, soap
and candles. Some of these hucksters occupy small shops of about
fourteen feet square, (which, by the bye, in most cases they are
obliged to use as their sleeping, dining, and dressing room as
well,) where they vend their different wares; while others
frequent the markets, or walk about the town or country with
their goods. These people purchase their goods from the retailers
upon a larger scale, or else buy them at an auction sale, of
which there are sometimes three or four in a day, at the
different merchant’s stores.

There is one peculiarity attending these small dealers, which is
worthy of note—this is, the great love they have for buying
“damaged flour,” supposing they will be sure to get a bargain.
Upon this account, it is common among some merchants, when they
are about to dispose of this commodity by public auction, to term
it “damaged,” when perhaps the only appearance of such mischance
is, that the barrel is a little dirty. It has been often known
for one of these sullied barrels to bring a larger amount than a
better article, simply because it was put up as damaged.

Many of these women do nothing else but walk about to the
different sales all day, in hopes of meeting with bargains,
leaving the management of their shop (if they have one) to their
children. When an article is put up, they bid in pounds and
shillings, of which they have no conception; the consequence of
which is, that when they retire from the sale, and get some
friend to add it up in _dollars_ and _bitts_, (current coins,—the
_dollar_ 4s. sterling, the _bitt_ 4½d.,) they become alarmed at
the amount of their purchases; and as there is no auction duty to
be paid by them, they will not return for the articles, and
consequently the merchant is obliged to bear the loss.

Some of the females work as porters, hire themselves to mix
mortar for bricklayers, or even dig wells, (or springs as they
are termed in this country,) and clean out ponds. Many of the
negro women, particularly those who live in the country, and are
employed in agriculture, are so very masculine in their voice,
manners, and appearance, that it is at times a matter of doubt to
say to which sex they belong. This may be attributed to the
general system of treatment during slavery: they were required to
work the same as the men; and when punishment was thought
necessary, no regard was paid to their feelings, but their
persons were equally exposed as those of the other sex. Of
course, these proceedings in time rendered them callous, and in
the end, divested them of all those principles of modesty which
are so great an ornament to the feminine character, whether in a
high or low condition of life. The manner in which they were
accustomed to dress during their ordinary employments tended in
great measure to have this effect. A petticoat of coarse
linseywoolsey, or blue check, with a short jacket of similar
materials, constituted the chief part of their covering; and even
this was put on so carelessly, that frequently the upper part of
their persons was left quite bare. While employed in their daily
avocations, it is customary to tie up their garments almost—if
not quite—as high as their knees; and even when walking about the
streets of the capital, if it is rather wet weather, the same
degree of indelicacy is practised. All these causes combined,
tend to lessen the women in the eyes of strangers; although the
Creoles appear to see no indecorum in their style of dress, or

Most negroes appear to be possessed of great strength, and will
carry immense loads, the women as well as the men. The head is
the part appropriated by the negroes to bear their burdens. They
carry tables, heavy boxes, boards, barrels, and similar articles,
in this manner; and if they want to convey a cup or a bottle, it
is placed in the same exalted situation. The very little
children, of perhaps not more than three or four years old, will
also place a calabash of water, or a bottle of rum, upon their
heads, and trip along without holding it in the slightest manner.


[34] A religious ordinance among the Moravians.

[35] In Barbados, the negroes make a little difference in their
mode of washing. Going down to the sea-side, they make use of the
sea-water, and then spreading them upon the sand, sprinkle them
occasionally with the briny fluid. When (during a short visit to
that island) I saw them thus employed, it recalled forcibly to my
mind the description of the Princess “Nausicaa” in “Pope’s
Homer’s Odyssey,” who at the command of Pallas went to wash the
robes of state in the “mazy waters.”

    “Then emulous the royal robes they lave,
    And plunge the vestures in the cleansing wave;
    (The vestures cleansed o’erspread the shelly sand,
    Their snowy lustre whitens all the strand.)”

                         CHAPTER XLIII.

  Negroes: Exterior appearance—Difference of expression—White
  negroes (Albinos)—Description of one—Black and white negroes—
  Negroes’ “bulls and blunders”—Exchange is no robbery, or the
  lost specimens—Negro politeness—Negro tongue—Inebriation—
  Concluding remarks

It is now necessary to make some mention of the exterior
appearance of this large bulk of the population of Antigua, the
blacks. As most persons are aware, the distinguishing features of
the negro tribe are thick lips and flat noses, to which
peculiarities may be added, their black and woolly hair; but that
there are no exceptions to be met with is an incorrect statement.
Even among the Africans themselves, some intelligent countenances
and expressive features are to be found, while many of the
Antiguan _Creole negroes_ are what may be termed very
good-looking. High and well-formed foreheads, black and sparkling
eyes, aquiline noses, and lips with only a slight pout, are not
uncommon. I would not, however, presume to assert that these
pleasing outlines predominate; on the contrary, a great many of
the negroes are very ill-favoured, approximating to what may be
called hideous; and this is heightened when, in contrast to their
ebon skins, is presented the snowy hair of old age, or when
suffering from that dreadful disease, the _elephantiasis_. Many,
again, are exactly like an ape, only, perhaps, they have not so
much animation in their countenances; while others, from their
thick, sullen-looking features, their over-hanging eyebrows,
white, gleaming tusks, and faces more than half covered with
hair, give no bad picture of “Master Bruin.”

It has been remarked by many persons, that they could not
distinguish one black person from another. A short time spent
among them shews you, however, that this is not the case, there
being, in reality, as much difference in personal appearance as
there is between the natives of England, although, from their
dusky hue, it is not so perceptible at first sight. This
dissimilarity consists, not only in features, but also in
complexion. Some of the negroes are black as “the ebon throne of
night,” or the drear raven’s wing, others present a kind of
“reddening gloom;” while many have that wan, _spectral_
appearance, that you may fancy them suffering in the early stage
of the _black jaundice_.

There have been instances in this island of Albinos being born
among the negroes; one, in particular, of the appropriate name of
“Wonder,” belonging to an estate called “Mayers,” astonished all
who beheld him. He was said to be as repelling in temper as he
was in person. One of these prodigies of nature was introduced to
me during my stay in the West Indies, and so extraordinary was
his appearance, that I cannot refrain from giving a short
description of him. In person he was rather tall and slender; his
complexion was of the colour of chalk and water, and no tinge of
carnation was to be found either in his lips, cheeks, or gums.
His hair, which, like that of all negroes, was short and woolly,
was perfectly white, as also his eyebrows and eyelashes; these
last were very long and thick, and completely shaded his eyes. Of
this member, the iris was of a very light grey, while what is
called the white of the eye, or more properly, the _albuginea_,
presented a yellow tinge; and, from the manner in which he
screened his eyes with his arm when looking up, he must have
possessed a defective vision. Although he was not absolutely
ugly, yet his appearance was such as to cause an involuntary
repugnance. The person who introduced this strange creature to my
notice acquainted me that he was of a very crabbed temper; but at
this I was not afterwards at all surprised, for wherever he went,
he was a matter of wonder and dislike, and every little negro
called after him as he passed along, “You see dat white nager?—
well, me no like to be one white nager, me sure!”

It is said that these “Albinos,” or “Dendos,” as the negroes call
them, cannot see during the middle of the day, but that at night
their vision is so particularly clear, that they can see to pick
up the smallest object.[36]

There have also been instances of a negro being born _black and
white_ in Antigua; his parents were both black people, as were
the progenitors of “Wonder,” whom I have already mentioned. Dame
Nature does play strange freaks at times; and surely when she
formed these white and “black and white” negroes, she must have
been in one of her most sportive humours.

Many of the negroes have very good figures; but the assertion of
some authors, that there is scarcely ever a deformed person to be
met with among them, is as untrue as it is ridiculous. I profess
not to be a connoisseur in anatomical beauty, or to know the just
criterion as to what the human shape ought to be, but with regard
to this people, very many of them are anything but perfect in
their organization. One very perceptible defect is, their bodies
being longer in proportion than their legs; and in many
instances, these last-named members have a strong inclination to
_turn in_, or _turn out_;—in plain English, to be _bandy-legged_.
This latter blemish may, perhaps, be attributed to the manner in
which the women carry their children during infancy: leaning upon
one side, they place the child upon the protruding hip, with its
little legs clinging around their body, which posture, in time,
causes those limbs to _bow_ out. This plan of carrying children
is not only commonly practised with their own offspring, but when
engaged as nurses in respectable families they use their little
charge to the same awkward custom, so that if you lift a Creole
child, it immediately clings round you in the manner described.

The negroes, like the Irish, are famed for their “bulls and
blunders,” in illustration of which, many an anecdote is related.

During the period that Sir James Leith was residing in Antigua,
as governor of the Leeward Islands, he was very indefatigable in
his geological researches, for which Antigua affords an ample
field. Upon one occasion, his excellency had been labouring very
hard to collect from the bosom of “Mother Earth” specimens which
only a geologist can properly appreciate; and with a well-filled
bag of them, entrusted to the care of a negro servant, he left
the scene of his toils to refresh his animal spirits with some of
the _good things_ of this life. To ensure the safety of his
favourite specimens, the negro was despatched with them to “Dows
Hill,” (the place where the governor then resided,) with strict
injunctions to make the best of his way, and carefully deposit
his load in his excellency’s study until they could be properly

After receiving his orders, and well poising his load upon his
back, the man started upon his journey. The weather was very
sultry, and the way was very long; the bag was very heavy, and
poor _blacky_ was very tired. Still he plodded on “his weary
way,” stopping only now and then to dash the flowing perspiration
from his brow, and had arrived within a mile of his home, when he
was suddenly joined by a friend. “Eh, buddy! (brother) why you
loaded true! War you got in that great big bag?” “’Tornes,
(stones,) me friend.” “’Tornes! why war you go do wid dem all,
eh?” “Me no no. Massa gubbunor gib me dem to _fetch_ home, but me
no no war he go do wid dem; me no dem well heaby though.” “Well,
if eber me hear de like! for one somebody to go haul all dem
’tornes sich a long way, when dere plenty ob dem all ’bout ‘Dows
Hill.’ I tell you war me go do if deys gib me dem to carry, me go
heabe dem ebery bit away, an when me get to de ‘Hill,’ fill me
bag wid some of dem big ’tornes as stop all ’bout dere—sure one
’torne as good as anoder.” “’Tank’e, me friend, me neber think ob
dat me sure; but if you just help me down wid dem, me soon do war
you tell me.”

No sooner said than done; the splendid specimens were thrown away
without compunction, and the negro, who found it much easier to
march with an empty bag than with his former load, sped on his
way joyfully. At the bottom of “Dows Hill” he stopped, and once
more replenished his bag with the rough stones, which liberally
bestrewed the pathway, choosing the largest for the purpose.
These he safely conveyed to his master’s study, carefully shut
the door, and left them. The surprise and consternation of the
governor when, upon inspecting, as he thought, his hard-earned
specimens, he found only a heap of useless rubbish—the
interrogations he addressed to his servant, and the ludicrous
answers of the negro,—are matters for the imagination to dwell

It is customary with many store-keepers in this island to wash
the outside of their stores or shops, yellow, or some other
colour. Should this take the fancy of a negro as he passes, he
immediately exclaims—“Ah, me like dat, massa’s ’tore really look
gran; he whitewash he yellow, an make he stop quite good, de

With regard to the negro tongue, much cannot be said for its
purity; the Creole negroes speak a dialect bad enough, but the
Africans’ is almost unintelligible. There is one peculiarity in
their mode of speech very remarkable—the making use of only one
gender. For example:—if they speak of a female, or any inanimate
object, they invariably say _he_; thus, if a woman is speaking of
her sister, she says, “_he_, my sissy;” or of something that
particularly attracts their notice, they exclaim—“_he_ one
handsome house,” or “_he_ one gran’ carriage.”

They have also particular ways to designate persons of all ages
among themselves; their old women they call “grandy,” those of a
middle age “aunté,” while the younger women are nominated “see,”
or “sissy.” In the same manner, the old men go by the title of
“daddy,” the middle-aged “uncle,” and the young men “buddy.” In
conversation they seldom pronounce the “s,” “th,” or “y;” thus,
if they want to say “story,” it is “’tory,” or “the,” it is “de,”
“young,” it is “noung.”

They are particularly polite whenever they meet, addressing each
other as “Sir,” and “Ma’am.” Many a dialogue have I heard pass
between the gossips on their way from the Moravian Chapel,
sufficient to excite the risible faculties of a stoic. “How d’ye,
ma’am?” said a dirty-looking man just now, to a woman of a
similar grade; “how you do?—I’se hope you well to-day.” “Well, I
tankee, sir—how you do?” “Oh, so so, ma’am, it one long time
since me see you; war you no come up our side?” “Oh, my dear sir,
me no forget you togedder, but me pic’nee been quite sick.”[37]
“Me sorry to hear dat, but me hopes he soon get well; me just
been to see de new gubbernor land.” “Yes, me here he cum, but me
not able to go; war kind of a gentleman is he?” “Oh, one
noble-looking buckra, an he lady on gran lady; it do you heart
good to see he; me dont tink we eber hab gubbenor like he afore.”
“War he named?” “Gubbernor Sir Charles _Gustus Fitzoy_.” “Eh, eh,
one big name true.” “Well, good morning, sir.” “Good morning,
ma’am,” and so they separated.

To a stranger, the negro tongue is as difficult to _write_ as it
is to _speak_. In the different conversations given in that
dialect, indulgence must be craved from my kind readers, both
English and Creole, if they are not correctly written, observing
at the same time that I write them as it seems proper to me, and
in such a manner as they may be understood by those who read, not
always the case when garnished by so many accentual marks.
Perhaps sufficient examples of their mode of talking has been
given, and that by adding more, the reader may be tired, and
myself involved in a maze; I will therefore conclude this subject
by remarking, that it requires more than a moderate stock of
patience to deal with them, for they talk so long, so loud, and
so fast, that if not blest with that virtue to an eminent degree,
you will be sure to lose your temper without avail.

In my lengthened descriptions of the negro tribe, among the
darker shades of their character inebriation has not been
mentioned, as it is not a general vice among them. Still it
cannot be altogether passed over, for alas! too many have to
deplore the consequences of excessive drinking. In a country
where his actual wants are sooner supplied than in a colder
clime, the labourer has a larger portion to spend upon that
deleterious poison, _new rum_. A few sticks, collected by himself
or his wife, serves to cook his daily meal, a mat forms his
couch, while a coarse garment of cloth is the dress of his
children, and their little feet seldom know the confinement of a
shoe. Their smart dresses (if they have any) are reserved for a
Sunday, or any particular occasion; but the generality of negroes
who are addicted to the vice of drunkenness, seldom pay any
regard to their personal appearance.

Their excuse for indulging in this habit of drinking is, that
after working all day they require something to strengthen them
and allay their thirst. But the question is, will ardent spirits
do this? or will they not rather, from their heating qualities,
augment the craving? Now, most negroes have a sweet tooth, and a
beverage composed of sugar and water would tend to alleviate
their thirst, and at the same time nourish and enrich their

It is very much to be wished that managers and owners of estates
would try and enforce on the minds of their labourers the
pernicious effects of dram-drinking; for a steady, well-ordered
peasantry is a blessing to a country. True it is, the negroes
have a stubborn temper; and yet there are very many to be found
among them who seem willing to follow good advice; in that case,
the “rum-shops” might be forsaken in time, and their frequenters
become, instead of the refuse, the ornament of the class to which
they belong. The time has at length arrived when this despised
and benighted race are treated as rational creatures; when—

    “Spite of the shade, at length confess’d a man;
    Nor longer whipp’d, because he is not white.”

If a society was formed in Antigua, similar to the
“horticultural,” or agricultural societies in England, only
extending it to articles of manufacture, it would be the means,
perhaps, of exciting in the minds of the lower classes a worthy
spirit of emulation, and by employing them during their leisure
hours, draw them from their bad associates, and conduct them, by
gentle and persuasive measures, into the paths of virtue.

The humanity and generosity of the Antiguans is proved by many
charitable institutions; perhaps, then, this remark may be deemed
an imposition upon their goodness; but such is not the case; this
society might be established at very small expense. Twice in the
year, the negroes might be encouraged to bring their little
productions to an appointed place; and the best made, or best
cultivated articles, obtain a prize. The prizes, of course, would
be but small, but surely there are some among this large body of
persons who would esteem them, not for their value, but for the
honour it conferred upon them. It would be well if some of the
philanthropists of the present day would take it into
consideration whether such a society would be advisable or not.
If even but a few individuals were converted from idleness to
industrious habits, the purpose of the institution would be in a
great measure answered, the country benefited, and, in course of
time, others might be led to follow their example.

Ambition is a principle inherent in man; in all ages, in all
classes, in all shades, it more or less abounds, and when
tempered with reason, becomes, perhaps, more of a virtue than a
vice. While the negro was used as a beast of burden, a creature
without feeling or soul, his mind became degraded, and he could
not exercise his natural powers. But now he is become free, bear
with his ignorance for awhile, and endeavour by every means to
enlighten it. Treat him as a being endowed with the same
capabilities as ourselves; lay before him a just view of life;
point out to his notice the difference between a man under the
control of reason and one who follows the dictates of his own
impetuous will; shew him what industry and perseverance will
accomplish, and, in all probability, there will be some who will
lean to the side of virtue, and feel ambitious to become good
citizens, and worthy members of society. Nor would this be all
the good effected; being virtuous themselves, they would of
course desire their children to be so; and consequently, try all
possible means to procure them good instruction, and endeavour to
bring them up in the paths of rectitude. This is the only way to
banish the taint of slavery from the land, and exempt the rising
generation from those vices which have for so many years been
prevalent, and caused the man of sensibility to blush for his


[36] Wager, in his “Account of the Isthmus of Darien,” published
1699, when speaking of these Albinos, says,—“They are not a
distinct race by themselves; but now and then one is born of a
copper-coloured father and mother.” In the night they skip about
“like wild bucks, and run as fast by moonlight, even in the gloom
and shade of the woods, as other Indians do by day; being as
nimble as they, though not so strong.”

[37] In creole language, the term “sick” is applied to all

                         CHAPTER XLIV.

  Remarks upon free system—State of affairs before emancipation—
  Trials and casualties—Improved price of land—Sugar estate
  during slavery—Benefits of emancipation in the moral state of
  the colony—Benefits arising to the planter—Pretended illness
  among the negroes—Propositions in their favour—Decrease of
  crime—Hopes indulged—“The first of August.”

After dwelling so long upon the gloomy subject of slavery, it is
pleasing to turn to the more cheering prospects of the country
under a system of perfect freedom.

It must be allowed that, for a few years previous to
emancipation, the Antiguan planters were in a state of great
perturbation. They plainly perceived, from the state of affairs,
that the thraldom of slavery must be broken—that Britain would no
longer allow her children to traffic openly in flesh and blood;
and, finally, that they must, whether with a good grace or sullen
deportment, give up their right to slaves. Still the change from
slavery to freedom was a great revolution, a mighty crisis; and
urgent and inevitable as it was, who could tell what would be its
results. From this cause, property in Antigua diminished, for
some few years, greatly in value; and many estates might have
been then purchased for a comparative trifle.

But this depression did not continue long, for no sooner was the
deed done, and the chain which bound the negro to his fellow-man
irrecoverably snapped asunder, than it was found, even by the
most sceptical, that free-labour was decidedly more advantageous
to the planter than the old system of slavery. That, in fact, an
estate could be worked for less by free labour than it could when
so many slaves—including old and young, weak and strong—were
obliged to be maintained by the proprietors. Indeed, the truth of
this assertion was discovered even before the negroes were free;
for no sooner did the planters feel that no effort of theirs
could prevent emancipation from taking place, than they commenced
to calculate seriously the probable result of the change, and, to
their surprise, found, upon mature deliberation, that their
expenses would be diminished, and their comforts increased, by
the abolition of slavery.[38]

The lapse of eight years has proved this to be true; and there is
now scarcely one person, if any, in the island of Antigua, who
would wish to become again a slaveholder.

Since the period of emancipation, (1834,) Antigua has suffered
from many casualties. There were the severe hurricane, and the
long and harassing droughts of 1835. In 1836, and part of the
following year, the drought returned with increased severity, and
blasted, in great measure, the crops. In 1840, the planters had
again to contend with a season of dry weather, and yet, under all
these disastrous circumstances, the free system has gloriously
worked its way; and by producing larger average crops, (as well
as other advantages, both as regards exports and imports,) has
claimed from all a tribute of praise.

Although there are some few persons who deny that free labour is
less expensive than slavery, yet the general voice pronounces it
to be a system beneficial to the country. It has been proved to
demonstration that estates which, under the old system, were
clogged with debts they never could have paid off, have, since
emancipation, not only cleared themselves, but put a handsome
income into the pockets of the proprietors. Land has also
increased greatly in value. Sugar plantations that would scarcely
find a purchaser before emancipation, will now command from
10,000l. sterling, while many estates that were abandoned in days
of slavery; are now once more in a state of cultivation; and the
sugar-cane flourishes in verdant beauty, where for so many years
nothing was to be seen but rank and tangled weeds, or scanty

In days of slavery it required an immense capital to establish a
sugar plantation, as well as a large annual expenditure to carry
on the affairs of the estate when established. Perhaps a sugar
estate had a gang of two hundred slaves upon it, yet out of this
large number possibly there might not be more than sixty or
seventy efficient negroes, the surplus being composed of helpless
old men and women, children and infants, and emaciated and
cureless invalids. Still the law obliged the owner to feed,
clothe, house, and procure medical attendance for the entire
number; and little as their allowance was, yet, in dry seasons in
particular, when the crops of yams and other island provisions
failed, the maintenance of so many persons was attended with
great expense, while at the same time, perhaps, not more than
one-third the number were of any use in agricultural employments.

Under the free system, this tie upon the planter is entirely
annulled; for he now employs but a sufficient number of labourers
to carry on the estate-work, and the negroes support themselves,
as well as their old people and children, out of their weekly
earnings and the privileges which they still enjoy upon the
properties where they are domiciled.

But this diminishment of expense in the cultivation of the
sugar-cane is not the only benefit which emancipation has brought
to the colony. Setting aside religious principles—which evidently
point out the _sinfulness_ of slavery, as it is known among
modern nations—there were many, very many circumstances, which
tended to render the system obnoxious in the highest degree.

I have already spoken of the immorality practised in the West
Indies. It is a topic most harrowing to the feelings, and one
that a sensitive mind cannot descant upon. What was the origin of
that awful state of society? _Slavery!_ Illicit love was not only
countenanced, but actually encouraged upon estates between the
white masters and their black slaves, in order that the gang of
slaves might be enlarged by such unholy means! In these brighter
days of freedom there is, at least, not this inducement to
licentiousness in its most hideous form, and consequently, that
degraded state of morals which marked the annals of former years,
has, in great measure, disappeared.

Again, slavery occasioned the _planter_ immense trouble and
perplexities in managing his slaves; it engendered continual
heart-burnings and jealousies; it soured his temper, rendered him
callous, deadened those feelings of humanity which the Spirit of
Love has implanted in our breasts, and, however kind and
benevolent he might be in his domestic circle, a few months spent
in managing slaves, and he forgot to exercise his self-control,
and gave way to bursts of passions which, in his calmer moments,
he perhaps bitterly repented of.

Nor was this all: slavery engendered suspicion. There was not a
single slave-holder or slave-manager who, one time or the other,
was not made the prey to apprehensions, and had his brain filled
with thoughts of rebellions and insurrections. Emancipation has
entirely banished this hydra-like train of evils, and paved the
way for more enlightened and happier times. It has also put an
end, in great measure, to pretended illness among the negroes.
During slavery, this was a practice universal. No sooner did
Monday morning arrive than the manager’s door was thronged with
self-elected invalids, and more diseases were then complained of
than even Dr. Buchan would have us believe “flesh and blood are
heir to.” Some made their appearance with their heads tied up in
a bundle of banana-leaves—a negro prognosticator of a severe
head-ache; others were suffering from pains in the knees and
ankles, and consequently, such parts of their frame were duly
enveloped in sundry particles of old cloth or dried snake-skins;
while some, again, with woe-begone countenances, expressed “dat
dey felt bad all ober dem.” In vain the poor manager protested
their pulse was good, the tongues in a healthy state—the negroes
only groaned the more, gave a longer detail of their aches and
pains, or else, in a very doleful voice, exclaimed—“Massa no
b’leive he, (pointing to their tongues and wrists,) he no worth
b’leiving, for he no ’peak true!” and so the end of the confab
was, that the slaves in question were put upon the sick-list.

But now the case is generally different. The negroes work for
_money_; they know if they feign illness for a week, they will be
the losers at the end of the month; and as they are very quick in
discovering where their own interest lies, they stick to the hoe
for the sake of the dollars.

Still, however, pretended illness is not entirely extinct,—there
are some of the labourers who practise it in these days of
freedom, as of erst they did in slavery. In illustration of this
remark, it is a customary plan upon sugar plantations, that if
any of the people quit their work for a certain period, they,
after that time, are required to pay rent for the cottages, with
which, as stationary labourers, they are provided. This is done
in order to ensure their labour, and prevent them from working
upon other estates, where they may receive higher wages as

In order, then, to gain this increase of wages, without having to
pay rent for his house, the negro calls up some pseudo complaint,
and very early in the morning, presents himself before the
manager, with the usual bandages, and the notification that he is
“quite sick.” The manager feels grieved at this intelligence, for
he had contemplated doing a particular quantity of work that
week, and required all the labourers he could procure; but as the
negro represents himself so very ill, and he cannot deny the
statement, he is obliged to remain content. No sooner, however,
has the indisposed negro gained his hut, than he throws off all
symptoms of illness, and choosing his best hoe, he secretly
starts away to some other estate, where he is sure to obtain the
additional wages; while his proper master supposes he is
reclining upon his bed, a prey to ill-health.

It must be remarked, that although the free labourer acts at
times in this disingenuous manner, it is a general opinion that
they work better, and in a more cheerful manner than they did in
days of slavery, when a driver stood over them with his long and
heavy whip, to chastise their least cessation from labour. It
cannot be supposed that I am perfectly cognizant of the real
truth of this statement. I must, therefore, along with my own
observations, take the opinions and arguments of planters, and
other persons connected with agricultural employments, as the
basis of my remarks.

The facts brought forward in support of this affirmation are
these:—That upon some estates the extent of acres in a state of
cultivation is greater than before the abolition of slavery,—
other properties make a larger annual crop with one-third the
number of labourers,—and that although many efficient negroes
have emigrated to other islands, estates that were dismantled
have been re-cultivated. In _job-work_, as it is termed, the
negroes accomplish twice as much work as when employed by the
day; the simple reason of which is, that they gain a larger sum
of money by such arrangements. It is a fact that has fallen under
my own observation, that when a piece of land is holed[41] by
_task-work_, the negroes will rise by one or two o’clock during
moonlight, go to the field, and accomplish the usual day’s work
(300 cane-holes) by five or six in the morning; and after resting
for a short time, are prepared to take another task, which they
also complete, and have some hours left, in which to till their
own little spot of provision-ground. When the excessive heat of
the climate is taken into consideration, as well as the labour it
requires to dig one _cane-hole_, the work of a negro who can open
_six hundred_ in one day, can be better estimated by those who
are more acquainted with such matters than myself.

Another proposition in favour of the free system is said to be
the greater docility of the negroes now they are emancipated. Of
this circumstance I am not able to give _personal_ information.
To me they appear as aggravating as ever: equally suspicious,
quarrelsome, and uncivil. Still there are many and great excuses
to be made for them, when we consider how short has been their
life of freedom!—how untutored their minds are!—how debased has
been their state!—the very beast that eats the grass of the field
has, in times past, been equally esteemed with the negro!

Many planters, as well as other intelligent individuals, have
affirmed to the truth of the statement, “that negroes are more
easily managed as free men, than they were as slaves;” and
certainly such persons ought to be better judges than myself,
whose intercourse with the negro population is, of course, more

Crime is also said to have decreased—that is, in offences of the
higher character. We seldom or ever hear of a murder, or arson;
but petty faults, such as small thefts, breaking canes, breaches
of contract, and insolence to their employers, swell at times
into a large amount. Still it must be remembered, such is not a
proof that misdemeanours are more frequent in freedom than they
used to be during slavery. The reason that these minor violations
of the law appear to have increased is, that under the present
system all defaulters are brought before a magistrate, and their
offences thus published in the eyes of the world; whereas, in
days of slavery, their owner was their judge and corrector, the
whip their punishment, and they received their corporeal
chastisement without any notice of the event reaching the ears of
any stranger.

It is true, as I have already remarked more than once, the
negroes are a class of individuals very difficult and tiresome to
deal with; the greatest patience is requisite in order to bear
with their strange and harassing dispositions. It is now ten
years since I first came among them; and although great part of
that time has been spent in England, I have lived long enough in
Antigua to know what negroes are. I have studied their characters
in every point, and well as I would wish to speak of them, truth
obliges me to confess I have found them to be very far from
perfect. Still I glory in emancipation, for I looked upon slavery
as a foul and hideous monster, which ought to be exterminated
from every corner of the world; and consequently, I would not
have the bright star of liberty robbed of one of its rays by any
remarks of mine. I yet hope to see the negroes improved in their
mental, as they already are in their temporal affairs. I trust
that, as years roll round, their ill qualities will be
ameliorated, and their virtues increased; that they, as well as
their employers, may learn and practise that golden maxim, “Bear
and forbear;” and that eventually the Antiguan peasantry may be
held up to the other colonies as bright examples of humble worth,
adorning the sphere of life in which they move.

It is my fervent wish that the negroes may learn properly to
estimate their state as a _free people_, and instead of using
their liberty as a cloak for insolence and impertinence, they may
fulfil the several duties which are required of them with
becoming diligence, and finally meet their reward.

In summing up this chapter upon free labour, it may be deemed
necessary for me to mention some few particulars of the 1st of
August, 1834, that eventful day, when about thirty thousand human
beings were released from the trammels of slavery, and entered
upon a new state of existence as free men!

Before the abolition of slavery, it had been supposed by many of
the inhabitants of Antigua, that the negroes, at such an
important era of their lives—the transition from slavery to
freedom, would be led into great and serious excesses, or, at
least, that they would pass the first days of freedom in dance
and song, in riotous feastings and drunken carousals. But when
the time arrived, far different was the result. Instead of that
day being the scene of wild revelry and disorderly jollity, the
negroes passed it as a “Sabbath of Sabbaths,” a solemn feast,

    “One bright day of gladness and of rest.”

The churches and chapels throughout the island were thronged to
overflowing; and those persons who were unable to procure seats
within the sacred walls, crowded around the open doors and
windows with eager looks of joy. All the shops and stores in the
island were closed—

    “The roar of trade had ceased, and on the air
    Came holy songs, and solemn sounds of prayer.”

From every valley and dingle and from every height came trooping
joyous groups. Old men and women, whose woolly locks were
silvered by the hand of time—young men and maidens—the robust and
the weak—the parent and the child—all rejoicing that the day had
at length come when the iron yoke of slavery was removed from
their shoulders, and they, like their masters, could boast that
they were free!

The 1st of August fell upon a Friday, and after enjoying
themselves upon the following day with their friends, and joining
in the ordinances of God upon the Sabbath, the greater part of
the negroes returned to their agricultural and other employments
on the Monday morning with the utmost decorum and good temper.
Defective as the negro character may be, their behaviour at that
eventful period of their lives must elicit praise from the lips
of all, and prove a lasting theme of gratification to the friends
of liberty.


[38] My readers must clearly understand, that in my remarks upon
free labour, I confine myself exclusively to Antigua. In Jamaica,
Trinidad, and some of the other islands, great complaints are
made upon the working of the free system. Many estates are almost
out of cultivation in Jamaica, and serious fears are entertained
for the future prosperity of the island. To enter into any
disquisition respecting where the fault lies in that colony,
comes not within the focus of the present work; but no doubt, if
the cause be minutely and candidly inquired into, it will be
found that blame is to be attached to _both parties_.

[39] It may be necessary to explain what is meant by _strangers_,
as well as the reason they receive higher wages. The average rate
of wages is eightpence sterling, per day,[40] with the additional
privilege of a cottage, a plot of ground in which to plant
provisions, and medical attendance. Some estates which are short
handed, endeavour to procure labourers from other plantations,
and as they have not to provide them with anything but their
actual wages, they are enabled to give these strangers (as they
are termed, to distinguish them from the resident labourers) a
few pence more per day.

[40] Since the late awful earthquake, 8th Feb. 1843, wages have
increased greatly. The sum of 4s. currency, per diem, is now the
usual rate; but some estates have to give from 6s. to 8s.
currency, for the daily work of negroes, when grinding or cutting

[41] The process of opening the ground for planting the cane.
This is most laborious work; it is performed with a heavy hoe,
and the holes are from three to four feet square, and about a
foot deep.

                          CHAPTER XLV.

  A chapter on colour—Gradual removes from the negroes—Middle
  classes—Personal appearance—Devotions at their mirrors—Style of
  dress—Chapel belles—Passion for dress—Home and home scenes—The
  young men—Extreme officiousness—Higher classes of colour—
  Coloured Hebes—The chapel tea-party—Gastronomy and speeches—
  Wesleyan bazaar, and lunch-table—Gastronomic relics.

In commencing this “chapter on colour,” it may, perhaps, be
deemed _unnecessary_ for me to mention, that there are as many
gradations in _tint_ as there are in _rank;_ but as some of my
readers may not be perfectly aware of the fact, I prefer to be
branded with the title of a “multiplier of words,” rather than
omit any subject on which I may be able to afford information.

The several removes from a black are as follows:—The _mongrel_,
the offspring of a black and mulatto; the _mulatto_, the
offspring of a black and a white; the _mustee_, the offspring of
a mulatto and a white; the _fustee_, the offspring of a mustee
and a white; and the _dustee_, the offspring of a fustee and a
white.[42] This last gradation is the connecting link between the
degraded children of Ham, and the descendants of his more
honoured brethren. It is to be noted, however, that the _mulatto_
is not _always_ fairer than the _mongrel_, or the _mustee_ than
the mulatto; and children of the same parents often exhibit as
much, if not more, difference of complexion, as those of

Perhaps it may be considered almost an impertinence in me to
remark—the fact is so well known both in England and the West
Indies—that, among this numerous body of her majesty’s subjects,
there are some of the highest respectability. Every West Indian
island has its _élite_, and Antigua is not behind the rest. Many,
very many, could be mentioned, who are superior in every way—
well-read, strong-minded, with excellent natural talents, and
unexceptionable, both in public and private life. It would afford
me pleasure to name them; but I refrain from doing so, knowing
that their applause will be sooner gained by remaining silent,
and therefore will skim over the more general character of the
class, noting, in the first place, some peculiar traits in their
personal appearance.

The chief peculiarities in the coloured race are, the extreme
pliancy of limbs, attenuation of person, large black eyes, and a
profusion of black curling hair. The men are generally _under_
than above the middle size, but in most instances, possessed of
good figures.

The females are also small and slender, and are noted for an
ambling gait, combined in many of them with an extreme
affectation of manners. Many of them, unknowingly, are warm
admirers of Lord Chesterfield’s “Advice,” and practise the “airs
and graces” before a looking-glass with an intenseness and
indefatigability which, no doubt, that _great philosopher_ would
fully appreciate.

We hear of the beautiful Narcissus being so enamoured of his own
lovely features, when reflected in the clear waters, that he
pined into a jonquil. Now, I cannot take upon myself to state
this is exactly the case with the West Indian brunettes; but they
do certainly “lingering look,” until a pretty considerable stock
of patience would be exhausted.

Their toilets are laborious in the extreme; and they might
exclaim, with Lady Mary W. Montague’s “Flavia,”—

    “—————— I oft have sate,
    While hours unheeded pass’d, in deep debate
    How curls should fall, or where a braid to place;
    If blue or scarlet best became my face!”

Sundays, marriages, and funerals, are the occasions appointed for
making the greatest display. At other periods, a long
dressing-gown, or “wrapper,” as it is termed in Antigua, with a
many-coloured cotton kerchief around their shoulders, and their
heads perhaps enveloped in a similar article, and _slip-shod_
shoes, constitute their attire. But when “high-days and holidays”
come, and an _étalage_ is contemplated, one or two of their
friends are generally called in to officiate as tire-women, and
it must be allowed, their place is then no _sinecure_.

The style of dress adopted by ladies of this rank, when abroad,
is very superb! Silks and satins of the most approved colours,
challis and mousseline-de-laines of the gayest patterns,
mantelets, and “Victoria cloaks,” bonnets covered with flowers,
silk stockings, parasols of the most fashionable dimensions,
gloves of the softest dyes, shoes and boots of every shade,
reticules, with tassels and all complete, and pocket
handkerchiefs, ornamented with lace in the manner dictated by the
changeful goddess, added to a rather exuberant display of
_bijouterie_, whose gold is deeply alloyed, and whose gems owe
their brightest rays to the aid of different coloured _foils_,
serve to increase the charms of the olive-tinged creole beauties.

Those of this class who frequent the chapel, and term themselves
Methodists, make some slight difference in their apparel. Their
bonnets, for example, are divested of flowers on the _outside_,
for which they make amends by various twinings and
_counter_-twinings of glossy ribbon and cotton lace, and filling
their caps—I beg pardon, I mean their _brides_—but I am such an
indifferent votary of fashion, that I am ever forgetting her
technical terms—their _brides_, then, with such a profusion of
flowers, which be they of Amaranthine birth I know not, but I am
very sure, they are like nothing earthly—that their eyes, nose,
and mouth, just peep forth like sentinels from some guarded
fortress. Others, more scrupulous I suppose, discard the use of
flowers altogether, and in their room call to their aid snowy
_blondes_, and bows and puffs of choicest ribands. Jewellery is
also interdicted, although a few of the smarter of the “chapel
belles” contrive to smuggle a ring or two, a mock-cameo brooch,
or a treble-gilt chain, into their outward adornments. Fashion
is, however, worshipped by all. Their bonnets must be of the
proper size, their collars and capes of the proper shape, their
dresses of the proper length and breadth, and their waists
reduced to the proper circumference.

But the _sleeves_ of their dresses are the parts appropriated to
the display of their most exquisite skill. _One_ poor human brain
could never invent the puffings, plaitings, and gatherings;
quiltings, flutings, and bandings, which are lavished upon that
peculiar portion of their dress; to devise them must be an
arduous task, to construct them an herculean labour. The
arrangement of their hair is also a work of no trifling nature,
and takes up no small portion of their time; and the dealers in
oils and pomades derive no small profit from such articles, which
are indispensable in making their masses of black locks repose in
their proper position.

But, jesting apart, it is really the very pinnacle of absurdity,
to see the rage to which dress is carried, by this class of
persons in particular, when their style of living and rank in
society are taken into consideration. Their mothers are of that
class who have been already described when speaking of the
negroes, but who, it must be mentioned, disdain that term. Others
again are mongrels or mulattos; themselves the offspring of those
illicit alliances for which the West Indies, in their days of
darkness, have been so disgracefully noted. These mothers have
had, in almost every instance, the entire management of their
children. Perfectly uneducated themselves, they of course see no
charms in knowledge, and except the simple act of being able to
spell through an easy lesson, or scrawl their own names, these
unfortunate girls are brought up with no higher ambition than the
wearing smart clothes, utterly unbefitting their station, and
spending their lives in brushing and dressing their hair, or
rubbing their teeth with a roll of tobacco. While their mothers,
who keep a small shop, sell in the market, or huckster about the
town to gain a subsistence, think they have performed the part of
a good parent, by procuring for their daughters clothing which
every well-thinking person must mourn to see them arrayed in.

Their houses are, in many instances, the domiciles I have also
already described in the negro chapters, where, amid all these
smart habiliments, the young persons whom you may see walking out
with the air and dress of a _duchess_, herd together, eat the
coarsest fare, perhaps never know the luxury of a table-cloth;
and where the whole family, including male and female of every
age, take their nightly repose together. Some of these young
females are more industrious, and take in needlework of different
kinds; but the amount of their earnings is lavished upon that
all-absorbing object—dress. This, however, is the only species of
work they will condescend to perform, for as to going out to
service, they scorn the very idea.

The young men are equally scrupulous in adorning their persons;
although, in many instances, very negligent in improving their
minds. Their dress, which has been already described when
speaking of the _black beaux_, they procure by following the
several trades of tailors, shoemakers, joiners,[44] &c., and
sometimes, I am sorry to say, by less honest means. They are far
behind the females in appearance; for the latter, let them be
ever so uneducated, have a certain gracefulness of manners,
which, as long as they keep their mouths shut, tends to gloss
over their ignorance. I have had opportunities of noticing this
in public places of resort; the missionary bazaars, for example.
The females sit or stand quietly in groups, and offend not the
eye or ear by their coarseness of mien; but, on the contrary, the
men have that dissolute, vulgar, cavalier manner, so
characteristic of low, over-dressed vanity, that, were it in
England, we should be led to keep a steady eye upon our pockets
and watches, and feel ourselves safe only at a distance. Even in
the West Indies, where the “swell mob” does not exist, a kind of
unpleasantness of feeling steals over one upon their near
approach, heightened, or rather produced, by their boldness and
vulgar, officious conduct. They appear to know no difference of
rank, but, in their obtruded remarks, forget their plebeian
origin. This is more apparent in their behaviour to the higher
classes of their own colour, whom they approach with the utmost
familiarity, and unless they are speedily and properly
discountenanced, prove as troublesome as the impertinent little
_gad-flies_ do to a quiet herd of cattle, when standing musing in
some marshy pool.[45]

The higher class of coloured persons, which embraces a large
portion of the community, I have already slightly glanced at; but
still my work would indeed be incomplete did I not more fully
endeavour to portray their worth and superiority. These are men,
who, if not educated in England, have received the best
instruction the West Indies could afford, aided by their own
strenuous endeavours for information. Hospitable in the highest
degree, with a hand ever open to grasp in friendship that of the
strangers whom fate or the winds may lead to their pretty little
island; living in an easy elegance of style—the possessors of
warm and generous thoughts—the doers of high and noble actions—
patriots in the full sense of the term, their services ever at
the command of their country; of agreeable conversation and
polished manners; these are the characteristics of many of our
Antiguan coloured gentlemen. Their wives and daughters are, in
several instances, as unexceptionable as themselves, and perform
their social duties in the same pleasing manner.

Within the last few years, the young people have been more
generally educated in England, and many of them exhibit superior
talents, and have attained to no mean proficiency in the fine
arts. Their manners, too, are, with but few exceptions, very
graceful; their voices soft and mellifluous; and although,
perhaps, rather more silent than in the present age is expected
of women, what they do say is generally to the purpose.

Among these young daughters of a glowing clime, many very
beautiful girls are to be met with. With a sufficiency of
_embonpoint_ to prevent the appearance of any “right angles” in
their frame, they possess a sylph-like movement and an elastic
step; while the large, black liquid eyes, the glossy jet hair,
the long eye-lashes, and the soft olive tinge of their
complexions, relieved by rosy lips and dazzling white teeth,
would form no bad model for one of Mahomet’s _houris_.

Our sweet little queen has, unwittingly, done much to improve
their beauty, in wearing her own fair hair in the simple style
she does. As true and loyal subjects, the Creole girls can do
nought but follow the example of their royal mistress; and the
massy bunches of curls, which tended to give their features a
degree of thickness really not their own, and caused them to look
more sallow by the contrast, have given place to the more
elegant, Madonna-like bands and braids.

The place of all others where the greatest display of coloured
beaux and belles are to be found is at the tea-parties given at
the Methodist chapel for charitable purposes.

It being a beautiful moonlight evening upon the last occasion of
the kind, we determined to avail ourselves of it, and attend the
party whose gastronomic performance was to commence at seven
o’clock. Upon gaining the outer wall of the chapel, we found the
gate guarded by a few of the “new police,” and the porter
appointed to receive the tickets of admission, for which the sum
of 2s. 6d. sterling was demanded.

Passing across the court-yard, we stopped for a few moments at an
open window, to view the interior. The entertainment was held in
the school-room, a large apartment, forming the ground-floor of
the chapel; the walls of which were hung round with various
pictorial embellishments, seen to advantage by the aid of the
numerous lamps. We entered at that auspicious moment when nearly
the whole of the company were assembled, and before the actual
business of the evening commenced. The effect was really very
picturesque, and the scene would have been worthy the painter’s
pencil. The whole of the interior, with the exception of a space
all round the apartment, reserved for a promenade, was laid out
with tables, placed breadthwise, surrounded by well-dressed
groups, and covered with all those delicate “cates and
confections,” generally introduced at that social meal, which
Cowper has celebrated.

The heat of the climate rendering it necessary to have all the
windows thrown open, renders the use of large glass shades also
necessary to prevent the tapers from being extinguished by the
fresh land-breeze. On every table a pair of silver candlesticks
supported the delicate sperm or wax candles, the clear light of
which, heightened by their glittering screens, threw an air of
cheerfulness on all. Many elegant little vases, filled with
choice and fragrant flowers, were placed at stated distances,
interspersed with baskets and plates of the most luscious fruits,
while, at each end of the table, with their tea equipages of
silver and china placed before them, was seated a lady-member of
the chapel, whose zeal prompted her to prepare all this pretty
display, for the benefit of the society. Every pillar of the
apartment supported its appropriated lamps, which, reflected in
the bright eyes of the assembled girls, shewed their brown faces
to more advantage.

In about the centre of the apartment, elevated a foot or two from
the floor, was placed the seraphine, at which a young lady
(sister to the wife of one of the missionaries) presided, with
quiet grace and great skill; and around this instrument were
gathered the missionaries themselves. The business of the evening
commenced by singing a “grace;” upon the conclusion of which,
tea-spoons rattled, tea-cups danced from hand to hand, and every
one appeared resolved to prove, _par experience_, the goodness of
the plenteous fare placed before them. As for myself, I had full
work for my eyes, and postponed the exercise of my masticatory
powers until another opportunity.

Now, be it known to my English readers, that _tea_ is a beverage
West Indians seldom, if ever, indulge in; except those of the
higher classes. When, then, such a mixed party of coloured
persons meet together for the express purpose of partaking of
that cup “which cheers, but not inebriates,” it is done by the
lower classes merely for the sake of fashion, or to shew off
their gala dress. Accordingly, some most ludicrous caricatures
might have been taken, had Cruikshank or Phiz been of the party
instead of myself. Some of this class sipped their tea with the
same apparent relish they would have partaken of so much
decoction of senna, or any other similar luxury the pretty new
“druggist’s shop,” lately established in St. John’s, under the
auspices of a son of “mighty Scotia,” so neatly dispenses.
Others, with many a rueful look, talked of the _delights_ of
tea-parties, and of their own fondness for that fragrant herb,
while they beat a tattoo upon their tea-cups; and some, again,
with noble determination of purpose, stirred their smoking cup
until a little cool, and then gulped down the whole quantum, much
in the same way, and with the same happy countenances, as a
_débutant_ generally swallows his first glass of water from some
of our English chalybeate springs.

The “young men” of the class already noticed, appeared to have
been engaged the preceding forenoon in studying attitudes, for,
collected in groups, they stood leaning against the pillars,
distorting their forms and faces, and striving, I suppose, to
emulate the statues of the “Apollo Belvidere,” or the “Farnesian

Everything in this world has its end, and consequently the time
at length arrived when the repast—to which all appeared to do
justice, and consumed such huge pyramids of cake as was
marvellous in my eyes—was over, and at a signal from one of the
preachers, they all knelt down to prayer; but while thus engaged,
I could hear the repressed jingle of many a silver spoon, which
some more careful dame was placing in security in her box or bag.

After the prayer, a few hymns were played and sung; during which
period, I took the opportunity of walking with my companion
around the space already mentioned, in order to obtain a full
view of the assembled guests; and then followed some speeches by
the missionaries and one or two of the leading members, which
afforded much interest to the assembled group.

One old gentleman—a very excellent man, by the way, but rather
too much given to prosing when in the pulpit—spoke in favour of
tea-meetings and of the chapel debt, (to pay off which, these
entertainments were given, as one means of raising money.)
Another preacher gave us a long rambling anecdote of a
bowie-knife; paid high compliments to the ladies, which were
received by a grin of applause; said how much better it was to
have these agreeable parties, and thus raise money, instead of
the old way of trudging about from house to house, begging the
inmates to put down their names for certain sums, and attributing
the happy change to the fertile genius of the “tender sex;” and
concluded by remarking, that in the course of a week or two there
would be a bazaar held at the court-house, for the purpose of
raising more cash to liquidate the chapel debt, at which he
understood there was to be a _solid lunch-table_ spread, besides
one for confectionary; and although he liked tea very well, he
liked lunch a great deal better.

After Mr. ——— had concluded, a mild, quiet-looking man rose, who
spoke of social intercourse, referred to Job’s sons and
daughters; talked of heaven and heavenly enjoyments; and then,
after a few more speeches, more compliments to the ladies, a few
more hymns, and a concluding prayer, came the cloaking, shawling,
and bonneting, and we returned home, altogether pleased with our
visit, and leaving the lady-givers of the repast packing away
their silver urns and tea-pots, and all their other “goods and
chattels,” with a clatter and clamour that would have awakened
the “seven sleepers.”

Having been so well pleased with our visit to the tea-party, we
resolved to attend at the Wesleyan Bazaar held at the
court-house; and accordingly, on the day appointed, we drove to
that handsome building, whose walls have seen many a smiling
face, and echoed the sighs of many a heart—so mutable is
everything in this world, sorrow ever treading upon the steps of

The day was very warm; and upon entering the crowded apartment,
the smell of the various viands from the predicted _lunch-table_
completely overcame me for a few seconds; but recovering myself,
after a short sojourn in one of the wings of the building, I
ventured to return and look about me. The upper rooms of the
court-house, where the council and assembly hold their meetings,
had been appropriated to the occasion; the council-chamber (after
having one of the temporary partitions taken down, thus including
the lobby) was cleared of its chairs and tables; and in their
place, fitted up with stalls, placed around the sides of the
apartment, at which some of the chapel-ladies presided.

Here several little fancy articles were exhibited for sale, at
the usual high prices; the best of which were, a pretty little
baby-house, illustrative of the style of architecture most used
in Antigua, and which was made from the long arrow (or sheath) of
the sugar-cane, and a “pedlar woman” of old England in her red
cloak, black bonnet, and basket on her arm, containing her
numerous diversified wares, and hung round with other miniature
symbols of her trade—the make and gift (with many other elegant
trifles) of the accomplished daughters of a lady of Upper
Holloway, England.

The other apartment, where the house of assembly hold their
conclaves, was appropriated for the eating part of the amusement;
and a very good amusement some of the company seemed to think it,
if I may judge from appearances. On one long table was displayed
a cold collation, consisting of savoury dishes, suited to the
tastes of all, and where, for the charge of 1s. sterling, any one
might fare most sumptuously. Those who preferred it, partook of
sandwiches, for which the moderate charge of 2¼d. sterling was
demanded; and upon my entrance, my eyes were first attracted by
seeing a huge widow-Barnaby-looking woman, devouring them with a
voracity I certainly did not expect to witness in that place. The
other table displayed confections of various beautiful forms and
kinds, interspersed with fruits and flowers; and where the
younger people also seemed to find full employment.

Here again I could not help observing the low appearance of many
of the “young men,” who, with hats placed on one side of their
heads, and immense quantities of black hair smoothed to a
half-straight fashion by the assistance of a plentiful supply of
lard pomatum, and their thumbs stuck most (_un_)gracefully in
their waistcoat pockets, were pacing the room and shewing off
their smart apparel. I afterwards understood that many of these
over-dressed specimens of mortality contrived to enter the room
without paying the “quarter dollar” (1s. sterling) entrance
money, by fascinating, I suppose, the door-keeper, who was too
_simple-hearted_ to denounce these peacock-like persons of
conduct a sober-robed owl would scorn to be guilty of.

At length the appetites of all seemed to be appeased,—their
motives for coming (to see and be seen) fully answered,—their
appropriated sum of money expended,—and themselves loaded with
pincushions and _scent-bags_, babies’ caps, and reticules, they
began to disperse, and we ourselves took our departure, leaving
some of the matrons, who had _an eye to business_, very eagerly
making bargains for sundry portions of beef and ham, tongues,
poultry, and cold mutton, jellies and cheese-cakes, and other
gastronomic relics.


[42] This is the creole way of terming these different castes:
the Spanish call them _mulattos_, _tercerones_, _quarterons_, and
_quinterones_. There are also some intermediate names for the
issue of unions between the negroes and coloured people, as
sambos, &c.; but the general term for persons of colour is,

[43] In illustration of this it may be remarked, that there are
families where some of the brothers or sisters are fair enough to
be taken for English people; while the rest are scarcely
distinguishable from negroes in colour.

[44] In these remarks, the author begs to say, she means no
disparagement to the other professors of these several trades.
She is well aware that Antigua boasts a most respectable class of
tradesmen—white, black, and coloured—who are an honour to the
colony in which they reside.

[45] A great portion of this class of persons are the offspring
of those illicit alliances already alluded to in the times of
slavery, and who did not receive their freedom until after the
general emancipation in 1834, or within a short time previous to
that event, when they became so depreciated in value, that their
owners were satisfied to dispose of them at a trifling

                         CHAPTER XLVI.

  Prejudice—Its former and present character—An act of resentment
  —The “Prejudice Bell”—Exclusion of persons of colour from
  offices of trust and polished society—The dawn of better days—
  The assertions of some authors contradicted—Domestic character
  of the coloured gentry—Hospitality—A day at a coloured
  gentleman’s country-house—Dwellings—Marriages—Great suppression
  of illicit connexions within these last few years—Funerals—A
  scene of riot in former days—Provincialisms.

Before continuing my sketches of colour, it is necessary to say
something about _prejudice_. I mentioned in a former chapter,
that possibly it would be better to bury such a subject in the
gulf of oblivion; but upon mature consideration, I think it
advisable to portray a few of its many instances as well in times
past, as now.

A candid mind cannot but allow the illiberality, not to call it
by a harsher name, of despising or underrating persons, because
it has pleased their Creator to give them less fair skins. Yet
that these feelings have existed from time immemorial to the
present day is a well-known fact; and the West Indies in
particular has been the place where Prejudice has erected her

Although, as before remarked, the negroes were only considered as
beasts of burden, their polished and urbane white masters had no
objection to making them the partners of their illicit
intercourse; and then, casting aside all natural affections,
doomed their unoffending children, the issue of such unions, to a
state of degradation.

In former years, the cruelty of such an act was not, perhaps, so
keenly felt by them. Without any knowledge of religion or share
of education, they grew up devoid of the finer feelings. The
girls, as they approached womanhood, became themselves the
mistresses of white men, or, in the West Indian term,
_housekeepers_, while the males were content to drag on their
existence much in the same way as a tolerated spaniel, which at
one moment is noticed by a gracious nod, and allowed to lick the
feet of its master, while at the next it is kicked out of the
apartment, or spurned from the pathway.

As time wore on, and knowledge slowly progressed, the fathers of
these poor children were led to send them to some place of
instruction, where, besides acquiring the mere rudiments of
reading and writing, they became grounded in plain, but solid
learning. Having thus passed through the early stages of life,
the males followed mercantile or agricultural pursuits; and as,
perhaps, wealth poured in upon them, and they felt in their own
bosoms their superiority to many of the white inhabitants, their
eyes became more and more opened, and they more and more felt
their degraded state.

They were debarred from holding any office of trust—were not
allowed to act as jurors—and were prevented from serving in the
militia, until the year 1793, when, as a great concession, or
else because the “great folks” thought it for the public good,
they were allowed to serve as pioneers, or drag the heavy
artillery. The very churchyard was denied them, and their mortal
remains were deposited by the roadside, where only the suicide or
the murderer found a grave; while, should a white man be seen to
take one of them, even the most respectable among the class, by
the hand, in the way of social intimacy, that white man would be
scouted from all ranks of society for his indecorous behaviour.

In 1798, Mr. Gilbert, (a relation to the Mr. Gilbert, the founder
of Methodism in Antigua,) for many years the superintendent of
his majesty’s dockyard at English Harbour, was united in the
bands of wedlock to a highly respectable and accomplished
coloured lady of Antigua. The _iniquity!_ of this action, as they
deemed it, was resented by his brother whites; himself and his
lady were openly insulted; and some wag of the island, who, with
the brains of a calf, fancied himself an Ulysses in wisdom, gave
to the world an example of his would-be wit, by painting Mr.
Gilbert’s office-door half _black_ and half _white_.[46]

Not only were the coloured people refused interment in the
churchyard, but so fearful were the whites of profanation, that
the very _bell_ which tolled out _their demise_ was prohibited
from being used to perform that service for those degraded ones
through whose veins flowed the least drop of Afric’s tarnished
blood. Accordingly, a smaller bell (which still hangs in the
belfry) was obtained from an estate in the island, called “Golden
Grove,” and which was regularly kept for the sole use of persons
of colour, until within these last few years, when their rights
as fellow-creatures have been allowed, and those mean and pitiful
distinctions of caste, in great measure, done away with.

The first coloured person who was buried in the churchyard at St.
John’s was a merchant’s clerk, (whose own blood was tainted, it
is said, but who passed as a white man,) the favourite of his
master. The merchant ordered the funeral to proceed to the
churchyard, and upon the clergyman making his appearance, and no
doubt expressing his surprise at such an unprecedented
circumstance, he (the merchant) insisted upon his performing the
burial service, and dared him to prevent the interment taking
place. The rector thought it prudent to comply, and accordingly
the coloured man reposed by the side of some white person, who
(following the idea of Pollock in his “Course of Time”) will,
indeed, feel surprised at the last day, when each one takes again
his own body, to find how long his ashes have been polluted by
mingling in one common dust with him who perhaps was the
offspring of one of his own despised negroes.[47]

How the coloured people bore all these accumulated indignities,
which were heaped upon them for so many years, would astonish any
sensitive mind; nor if they had joined the negroes in one common
cause against their tyrants would it have produced much surprise.
But they did bear it, and with magnanimity, until time and
circumstance worked the cure, and delivered them from that
thraldom of the mind more galling than any servitude of the body.

It was not only the soreness of spirit which this state of
affairs inflicted upon the coloured man, but as Prejudice was the
offspring of Slavery, it was consequently the ground-work of that
horrible system of licentiousness which rendered Antigua among
the other West India Islands famous, or rather _infamous_, for so
many years. The coloured women participated in the _prejudice_ of
their masters, and as they became the mothers of female children,
they reared them up in the same spirit, and inculcated into their
minds that it was more honourable and praiseworthy to inhabit the
harem of a white man, than to be the lawful wife of a man of
colour. This conduct was, of course, the grave of all domestic
peace, the destroyer of connubial love; and by its dire, its
_demoniacal_ influences, caused the fairest island in the world
to become, in a moral point of view, a dreary marsh, exhaling the
poisonous miasma.

Brighter days have, however, at length dawned; the unhallowed
custom of concubinage has greatly decreased; and, indeed, except
among some of the old white planters or merchants, who have
retained the sins of their youth, and some of the low coloured
people, such alliances are generally reprobated.

The assertion, however, that prejudice is entirely done away
with, is incorrect. It still exists, and that, perhaps, very
strongly; but policy forbids, in great measure, its outward show.
It is true, that white and coloured gentlemen walk, and talk, and
dine together—drink sangaree at one another’s houses, sit in the
same juror’s box, and are invited, _sans distinction_, at
“Government House;” yet, at the same time, there is a lurking
dislike to them on account of colour, which ever steps in as a
barrier to social intercourse. It is said, that the white ladies
are the strongest upholders of prejudice; but that their refusal
to mix with this class of persons is not occasioned from any
shade of colour, but on account of their general illegitimacy.
This, however, is not the sole cause; for there are illegitimate
white people, whom they are in the constant habit of meeting
without any aversion; while, at the same time, many of the people
of colour, particularly the younger ones, are the offspring of
parents who have been legally united within the sacred walls of
the temple of God, and whose intellectual attainments fit them
for any society.

It has also been said, that the coloured classes are not of a
sufficient respectability to move among the white inhabitants;
and some few years ago, the question was asked, (in excuse for
excluding them from society,) by one who then filled the highest
station in Antigua—“Would you wish to ask your tailor or your
shoemaker to dine with you?” To this query a most unequivocal
negative might have been given. Differences of rank ought to be
observed; and no one can be blamed for preserving a certain
degree of _etiquette_ in the arrangement of their parties. But,
at the same time—“Are all coloured people tailors and
shoemakers?” “No!” as before remarked, among them are some of the
most respectable merchants and planters; and the whites
themselves, with but few exceptions, follow no higher

Let the lower class of coloured people know and keep their proper
distance, the same as the lower classes do in the mother country;
but allow the upper ones to hold that place in society which
their worth, respectability, wealth, and general deportment,
entitles them to.

I have already spoken of the extreme familiarity of some of the
low persons of colour, who rest all their pretensions to
gentility upon their smart clothes, or their ability to keep a
horse or a horse and gig. It could not be expected or wished that
such persons should be received into good society, any more than
the low and ignorant of my own countrymen. There is also another
class of coloured people which, although, perhaps, equally
talented and prosperous, from the nature of the business they
follow, are excluded from the tables of the great. Such
distinctions as these are but equitable, and consequently, cannot
be called prejudice; but to debar the whole caste from polished
society on account of _colour_, is an illiberality unworthy of
the “age we live in.”

From a glance at prejudice, and its attendant evils, I will
proceed in my remarks upon the domestic character of the coloured
Creoles. I have already spoken of their hospitality, which is a
virtue apparently indigenous in the island; for white, brown, and
black, rich and poor, seem, as far as lies in their power,
equally open to its influence. The country, as any part of the
island beyond the precincts of the capital is termed, is divided
into small towns, (described in the previous pages;) a few
settlements, which have sprung up since emancipation, and
sugar-estates, or grazing-farms, which, with their “great
houses,” managers’ and overseers’ dwellings, and negro huts, form
themselves complete villages. There are no hotels or places of
public entertainment, where the _sun_-worn traveller can obtain
“rest and refuge;” but if only acquainted by name, you can take
the liberty of driving to any of these country residences, where
you are sure of meeting with a polite and cordial reception.

Most of these dwellings are very pleasantly situated, generally
upon a gentle slope, and every breeze that blows finds a ready
entrance at the open windows. Some of them are built in the
cottage style, with only one floor, elevated a few feet from the
ground; just affording sufficient room for a snug and cool
cellar, where the good inmates store their generous wines. These
houses contain a spacious hall, (the principal room in a West
Indian house, occupying about two-thirds of the whole dwelling,
and where meals are taken,) a parlour, or drawing-room, generally
opening with folding-doors into the first-named apartment, a
small morning room, four or five bedrooms, and the remainder of
the building is divided into butler’s pantry, larders, and a kind
of lobby, where the numerous domestics assemble, and when not
actually engaged in waiting at table, or ministering to their own
ungovernable appetites, stretch themselves along the floor in all
the luxuriance of idleness. The kitchens are detached from the
house, for the purpose of evading the heat and smoke from the
wood fires; and contiguous to them are a long line of “negro
rooms,” (as they term the apartments in this country intended for
the use of the domestics,) stables, and coach-houses,
interspersed with “stock” houses for poultry, and pens for the
accommodation of those unseemly animals vulgarly called hogs.

These country residences are seldom devoid of company, who, in
parties of three or four, leave the confinement of the town for
the advantage of the purer air. The days are spent much after the
same fashion. Between the hours of five and six in the morning, a
tap comes at your chamber-door, and a black-visaged smiling
damsel enters with shoeless feet, and grinning lips shewing their
two rows of ivory, and with the accustomed “mornin’, missis,”
presents you with a cup of delicious coffee. The morning’s
costume arranged with due precision, you quit your chamber, and
passing through the “hall,” where two or three black servant boys
are spreading the snowy damask, and otherwise preparing for the
plentiful breakfast, you gain the drawing-room. Stepping through
its open windows or doors, you find yourself in a covered
gallery, amid, perhaps, a group of children and their nurses,
busily employed in various little infantile amusements. Upon the
appearance of “the lady” these, however, are immediately
postponed, as each miniature man or woman comes forward with
native courtesy and outstretched hand, and offers the usual

A grateful breeze greets your cheek with its bland whisperings;
and the early sunbeams, devoid of their intense meridian heat,
glisten on the dew-besprinkled leaves, or dance in the ripples of
the neighbouring ponds. If the property should be a sugar estate,
and it is the season of harvest when you visit it, many a jocund
laugh comes from the mill-door, where, under direction of the
manager or overseer, the sails are unfurled and given to the
wind; and with shout and creak, and cracking of whip, the sober
oxen are dragging home cartloads of golden sugar-canes. Thus the
time wears on;—at one moment watching the busy group at the
mill-door, at another holding converse with the lovely skies, or
following with dazzled glance, the rapid flittings of the
honey-seeking fly-bird;[48] and anon poring over the pages of
some spirit-stirring volume, or in occasional snatches of
conversation with the hospitable hostess.

At length the master of the domain, in his snow-white dress, and
broad-brimmed hat, returns from his morning ride around the
property, and the other guests assemble; and as the bell rings
for nine o’clock,[49] a black boy, with napkin on his arm,
announces “_breck-fus_ (breakfast) ready, ma’am,” and a general
movement takes place. The lady of the house, in her simple
morning dress, presides at the head of her well-stocked table
with a quiet gracefulness of manners, and amid a little racy talk
and pleasant jest the meal proceeds. Tea and coffee, the light
roll-like bread, roasted yams or potatoes, cutlets, ham, tongue,
eggs, _caveached_ fish,[50] and potted meats, are among the lists
of excellences found at a West Indian breakfast, while fresh
butter, (which is reckoned a rarity, and is very troublesome to
procure, being churned in a bottle, by continually shaking it,
and which is served up without the addition of any salt,) and
tempting fruits, fresh gathered from the tree, with the purple
bloom upon them, form the lighter delicacies of the repast.

The meal over, and finger-glasses handed round, the company quit
the table, and assemble in the drawing-room in order to pass the
morning. The gentlemen leave, on various cares intent—some ride
to town, to pursue their customary avocations, while the master
inspects the labours of his people, settles some magistracy
business, or visits some other estates under his management. The
ladies in the meantime settle themselves to various little
womanly employments. There is the piano, the paint-box, and the
embroidery-frame; a selection of periodicals, new works, (most of
the genteel people are subscribers to the “Library Society,”) or
a _porte-feuille_ of prints to look over; lively conversations of
“home and home scenes,” (all West Indians call England home,)
promenades in the galleries or verandahs, or romps with the
children to while away the hours.

About two o’clock the lunch-table is spread, when some of the
gentlemen find time to be present, and more good things are
partaken of. Pepper punch is brewed for “the lords of the
creation;” Hock and Seltzer water introduced, and the delicious
lemonade, made from the limes that moment gathered; and sparkling
water from the peculiar porous jars, which keep it as cool as if
drawn from the bottom of some gelid grot.

The flies are very troublesome in Antigua, particularly at those
moments when meals are going forward, flying into the plates and
dishes, and almost upon the very portions of food you are
conveying to your mouth; indeed, in one instance, I observed one
of these intruding little insects actually fly into a gentleman’s
mouth upon his opening it to utter some witty saying. To guard
against these disagreeable associates in your repast, it is
customary to have a black boy stand behind your chair, with a
large green bough in his hand, with which he brushes backwards
and forwards, in order to drive the intruders away. If the bough
made use of be gathered from any aromatic shrub, it is
particularly agreeable, as it throws a pleasing fragrance around,
at the same time it raises a gentle breeze.

After lunch, your former amusements are resumed, until the sun
loses a little of its intensity, when bonnets and shawls are
called into requisition, and you stroll to the “boiling-house” to
see the preparation of sugar-boiling going on, and taste the
“sling,” (the name given to the sugar when in its liquid state,)
canter over the short turf on the back of some “Bucephalus,” or
wander through scenes of sylvan beauty, until the time arrives
when it is necessary to repair to the house to dress for dinner.

Seven o’clock is the usual time appointed for “this momentous
meal,” a time better fitted for this warm climate than an earlier
hour. The dinner generally consists of fish and soup, with the
accompanying Champagne, followed by flesh and fowl, and concluded
by pastry, game, (when in season,) butter, cheese, and
shell-fish. Madeira and Sauterne are the wines generally used at
dinner; and port, claret, cherry-brandy, and other liqueurs, with
luscious Malmsey, are introduced with the dessert, which of
course embraces the choicest of the West Indian fruits. Most of
the higher families possess a good stock of silver and glass, and
the table linen would please the most fastidious.

The gentlemen do not sit long at their wine, but join the ladies
in the drawing-room, where tea and coffee soon make their
appearance, and the evening is spent in music and conversation
until the ornamental clock points to a late hour, when, family
prayers over, you retire to your chamber, and under cover of a
single sheet, repose in quietness, unless disturbed by an
officious mosquito, which, _sans ceremonie_, has entered by a
peep-hole in the “net” which surrounds the bed.

The houses of the coloured gentry are neatly and tastefully
furnished. The hall contains its complement of dining-tables,
side-boards, with their glittering burdens, butler’s trays and
stands, chairs, and sofas; wall-shades, hand-shades,
suspension-lamps, and china tables—sometimes a book-case and
writing-table, and a few prints in gilt frames. The drawing-room
has its couches, lounging-chairs, and ottomans; its pianofortes,
chiffoniers, and “what-nots;” loo and sofa tables; and all its
little fancy embellishments of ornamental china, albums, and
or-molu clocks. The floors are generally covered with oil-cloths
of various patterns, which are found to answer better in this
warm climate than carpeting; but the days when _mahogany floors_
were rubbed with _orange juice_ are long since passed, if they
ever existed. I have never seen floors of more costly materials
than “pitch pine,” which certainly takes a good polish if rubbed,
but which in that case are very disagreeable to walk over.

The marriages of the coloured people are more private than they
used to be formerly—that is, among the genteel classes; the
common people still drive about in borrowed gigs and phaetons,
after the fashion already spoken of in the negro chapters. Some
years ago, it was customary to marry by special licence, the
ceremony being performed in the evening at their own dwellings.
This practice has become extinct, and they are now married in
their parish church. The favourite wedding-dress is blonde and
white satin.

A great reformation has also taken place in their funerals. In
former days, a wake used to be held by all classes on the night
the demise took place; and on the following day, (the day of the
funeral,) immense quanties of “dyer bread” and “biscuit cakes”
(species of pastry) were made, enveloped in white paper, sealed
with black wax, and handed round to the assembled guests, who
often amounted to two or three hundred. Mulled wines, Port and
Madeira sangaree, “mixed porter,” (specified quantums of porter,
water, sugar, and spice,) and different kinds of spirituous
liquors, were also provided, sufficient to satisfy the thirst of
Baron Munchausen’s whale. If accounts be true, many of these
funeral guests paid such particular attention to these several
preparations from the vine and the hop, that they became greatly
elated thereby, and not unfrequently left the _house of mourning_
in a state of inebriety.

Every article of furniture in the house was covered with white,
and many other fatiguing ceremonies observed; but these have long
ago fallen into disuse, only the chamber of death shewing its
white drapery. The corpse, if a male, is attired in his usual
dress, with the exception of coat and shoes; over which is placed
what is termed a _scarf_, made of the finest white muslin or
lawn, crimped round the edges, and fastened round the waist by a
broad band. The ends of this scarf are brought in folds to the
feet, and terminated with bows and rosettes of the same material.
A cambric muslin shroud, also crimped in a deep border, is first
placed in the coffin; which, before the last sad office of
screwing down the lid takes place, is carefully covered over the
corpse, and shuts out from the glance of friends, the features
which they have so often gazed on with pleasure. If the deceased
is a female, an elegant white dress is chosen, with a white satin
band around the waist, white silk gloves and stockings, and a
blonde cap ornamented with white satin.

If the deceased were unmarried, the coffin is covered with fine
white broad cloth, and elaborately ornamented with silver lace,
nails, plates, and “little angels,” (as the negroes term them;)
if married, it is covered with black cloth and black ornaments.
Crape hat-bands and scarfs are now given to the bearers, and
hat-bands to the intimate acquaintance only, for if the deceased
is much respected, three or four hundred persons of all colours
attend the funeral. In the arrangement of the procession, (which
is always a walking one,) an eye is kept to prejudice. Formerly
all coloured persons had coloured bearers, then came a change;
and two white and four coloured men officiated in those
characters; then it came to be three white and three coloured,
and in a late instance, four white and two coloured persons
formed the complement.[51]

The common coloured people still keep “a wake” upon the death of
their friends; and on such occasions, while one part of the
company are engaged in singing psalms, the others are filling the
women’s hats with water, putting pepper into wine, pulling off
their shoes, and playing other vulgar practical jokes, most
irreverent and disgusting at such a season.

The Antiguans have a peculiar mode of calling articles by
particular names:—thus, potatoes are invariably called _Irish
potatoes_, come they from what part of the world they may; the
common Prussian-blue pea, and wheat-flour, are always termed
_English_ peas, and _English_ flour, although such articles may
come from France or America; ducks are English ducks; _negus_ is
denominated _sangaree_, and spirits and water, _swizzle_.

This practice is illustrated by the following anecdote, related
of a West Indian, who upon arriving for the first time at a
London hotel, rang the bell for the waiter. Upon that necessary
appendage to such an establishment making his appearance, the
West Indian saluted him in the following Creole manner: “Boy!
d’ye hear? give me a glass of _sangaree;_ and let me have for
dinner English ducks and Irish potatoes.”

The waiter, not used to this specification of articles, was
astounded; he passed his fingers musingly through his lanky
locks, looked up to the ceiling, and down to his Warrenized
shoes, minutely inspected the movement of a fly upon the gilded
mirror, in hopes, no doubt, of deriving information from it,
smoothed the _un_rumpled table-cover, and then being still
utterly unable to comprehend the order, exclaimed, in a very
lamentable tone, “I ham werry sorry, sir, but we have not got no
ducks or potatoes but the _common ones_, and has for the _other
thing_ you _hordered_, we have none in the house just now.”

There are several other peculiar modes of dialect observable
among the Creoles. For instance: If an order is given to open or
shut a window, it is, “Heave up that glass sash,” or, “Haul down
that glass sash;” when speaking of east and west, they invariably
say _windward_ and _leeward;_ to throw a stone, is to _fire_ a
stone; if a person is fortunate enough to procure a good
situation, it is immediately said, “He has got a _capital
berth;_” and their men-servants, of every age, are always termed

Soon after my arrival in this island, I happened to be present,
one evening, when a gentleman was deploring an accident which had
lately occurred. With my mind running upon “wounds and bruises,”
I inquired into the circumstances. “Why, that good-for-nothing
_boy_ of mine,” was the rejoinder, “went to the pond this
morning, and on bis way back, he _knocked down my horse_.” I was
certainly surprised at such an herculean feat, and began to think
of Maximin, the Roman emperor, who, with one blow of his fist,
could knock out a horse’s tooth, or break its leg with a kick;
but my wonder was considerably increased upon the entrance of the
_boy_ in question, for instead of his exhibiting any appearance
of great strength, I found him to be, in reality, a decrepit old
man. How this pilgrim of sixty summers could knock down an animal
of such vast strength as a horse, I could not imagine—the mystery
was more and more intricate—but at length, an elucidation was
afforded, and I found out that instead of _the boy_ knocking down
the animal, the animal had knocked down him; or, in other words,
the horse had fallen down with the poor old man upon his back.

My sketches of colour are completed. True it is, there are many
other little peculiarities which might be noticed; but for the
present I will bid the coloured classes “farewell,” and turning
over the page, mention a few of the “traits and trials” of the
white inhabitants.


[46] This was not the only indignity offered. Mr. Gilbert was at
that period the notary public, and when the news of his intended
marriage got abroad, “the acting governor of Antigua wrote to the
acting general governor of the Leeward Islands, resident at St.
Christopher’s, representing that _he_ (Mr. G.) had so basely
degraded himself as to be unworthy of that office.” The
governor-general thought so too; so the public whipper was sent
to demand his notarial commission, and some unknown patriot
removed the painted board, placed over his office, bearing the
words, “John Gilbert, Notary Public,” and threw it into the sea.
Mr. Gilbert also held a commission in the militia; but so
horrified were the officers of the corps to which he belonged,
that one of them, in the name of the rest, waited upon Mr.
Gilbert with the pleasing intelligence, “that they were
determined to have no intercourse with him, and would apply for a
court-martial to try him, _for acting in a manner inconsistent
with his rank and station, and the character of an officer, if he
proceeded with this marriage._” For peace’ sake, Mr. Gilbert
resigned his commission. When, according to “the universal
practice in these islands,” he applied for his marriage licence,
he was refused; the “bans were therefore published in the
church.” It is almost needless to remark, that had he made the
lady the object of an illicit intercourse, his conduct would have
been thought nothing but proper by the white inhabitants of
Antigua in those days!

[47] This circumstance occurred at a period when the clergymen
officiating in Antigua were not of that exemplary character which
distinguishes the generality of the present divines.

[48] The humming bird, or colibri.

[49] A bell is rang, a conch shell blown, or an old copper struck
with a piece of stick, to notify the hour when the negroes leave
their work, for the purpose of getting their morning meal; and
this is the usual hour for partaking of that repast among all

[50] Fish stewed with vinegar, limes, mace, pepper, onions, &c.,
and eaten cold.

[51] How often trifling matters like these speak a mighty change
in the “spirit of the times!”

[52] Although these _provincialisms_ happen to occur in this
chapter, it is necessary to remark, that they are made use of by
Creoles of every colour.

                         CHAPTER XLVII.

  Grades among the _pure in blood_—Aristocrats—The tribe _fungi_—
  An overseer’s duty—Managers and attorneys—Pickings and
  gleanings—Managers’ wives and managing ladies—Aristocratic
  shops—“My daughters”—Education—“Field days” of the militia—The
  Antiguan aide-de-camp.

As in commencing my chapter on colour, I deemed it necessary to
mention the different grades and gradations among that
olive-tinted race; so in writing upon the white population of
Antigua, it will be first proper to remark, that there are two
_distinct classes_ to be found among them: the one born in the
island, (but of course of European extraction,) and consequently
termed Creoles;[53] the other, persons of both sexes, who have
emigrated from England in search of wealth, or whose domestic
ties, or government appointments, have caused them to leave the
land of their birth, and made them, for a time at least,
residents in this bonny little island.[54]

In these two classes, then, are to be found all the descendants
of the fair-haired Saxons, from the president of the island, down
to the low, ignorant, but proud, pauper—proud of his untarnished
blood! who, in Antiguan vulgarism, is known by the appellation of
“bottom-foot buckra.” Of this last-mentioned class much may be
said. Many and various are their “traits” of character, and
arduous their “trials” to enable them to “keep up appearances.”
But perhaps it may appear more orthodox to scan over the
peculiarities and “manners and customs” of the “tip-tops” first.

The head of Antiguan society is of course her majesty’s
representative—“His Excellency the Governor.” Then comes the
“President of the Island,” who, in absence of the
commander-in-chief, exercises his duties, and takes his place in
society. After the president, the members of the council and
house of assembly rank next among the grandees, all of whom, no
doubt, are—

    “Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors.”

Then comes the “bench and the bar,”—the occupiers of pulpits, and
the followers of Galen,—government officers, and the officers of
her majesty’s customs,—a few gallant sons of Mars from some of
England’s “wooden walls,” who in cruising about these seas, pay
Antigua an occasional visit,—officers from the stationed
regiments,—and a long line of merchants, attorneys, managers, and
nondescripts—and there the line is drawn. “These several gentry,”
with their wives and daughters, aunts, sisters, and cousins,
constitute the first class among the white population, or more
properly speaking, form the aristocracy of Antigua.

But it must be observed, these aristocrats, although forming one
body, mixing in the same society, and equally looking upon
themselves as _exclusives_, may yet be divided into two distinct
classes—the one springing from a good old stock, the other
comprehending the _self-elected_ ones. I shall confine myself
more particularly in this chapter to the latter class, as being
better exemplifiers of the “ups and downs of life.”

Now although the tribe _fungi_, of which the mushroom is a
member, luxuriates better in a damp climate, than in one so
excessively hot; yet some species of them may be met with in all
parts of the world. I have often seen their long slender stalks,
and pallid-looking caps extending the limits of the _vegetable
world_ in Antigua; and therefore it does not surprise me to find
so many of the mushroom family among the animal creation in that
part of the globe, obtruding their tall heads, even in the
aristocratic circles of the community. Like their brethren among
the vegetables, some of them grow upon the ground, and “derive
their nourishment from the soil,” while others “spring up on
various substances, presented by nature or art.”

The first of these two varieties of mushrooms are to be met with
among the descendants of those poor white persons, who in former
years came to Antigua to act, in the literal sense of the word,
as “servants of servants,” but whose offspring, by dint of petty
traffickings and small gatherings, amassed a sufficient sum of
money to make them forget their origin, and contemning their
natural parents, look for some “Jupiter Ammon” to stand
progenitor for them in their stead. The latter class are the wild
branches of some sapless tree, who, with scarce a change of
raiment in their wallets, or the clink of a coin in their purse,
were shipped off to the West Indies to be killed or cured—reap
dollars like thistles, or starve in the attempt.

By the “good luck,” as it is termed, which sometimes attends such
needy adventurers upon their arrival in this country, they
obtained, perhaps, employment as overseers upon the different
estates, (I am now speaking of the manner in which such affairs
were conducted some years before emancipation, when the
proprietors were obliged, by law, to maintain so many white
servants to so many slaves,) where they were quickly installed
into their duty. This consisted in calling over the names of the
negroes before daylight of a morning, seeing them properly
whipped, when such chastisement was deemed necessary, or perhaps
whipping them, as the case might be; inspecting the labours of
the gang of negroes in the field, who were cutting canes or
preparing the land for planting; flying from thence to the
mill-door, where some awkward “boatswain” had let the
mill-tackling get wrong, (for which crime he was coolly ordered a
dozen or two,) or, perchance, if it were a “cattle-mill” instead
of a “windmill,” a gang of mules had turned restive, or one
unfortunate over-driven animal had dropped down dead, or else
three or four of the wooden cogs of the mill were broken, and the
cattle were obliged to be taken out until it should be mended.
Then he had to visit the “rum-still,” and overlook the process of
distillation, taking down, upon a dirty piece of paper, the
number of gallons of “high-wines,” “rum,” and “low-wines.” From
the “still” he marched to the “boiling-house,” to inspect the
making of sugar; and from thence to the “curing-house,” to see
the sugar “potted,” (that is, packed in hogsheads, tierces, or
barrels.) Then there were staves to be given out to the coopers,
and boards to the carpenter, besides dispensing medicines to the
sick slaves, and cane-tops to the hungry mules. And then, when
all these multitudinous occupations were performed, and the
different store-houses well secured, he proceeded to the “great
house,” and, after scrubbing his face with brown soap and a jack
towel, smoothing, if possible, his straggling, sun-burnt locks,
and exchanging his dirty white jacket for one of broad-cloth, or
a coat whose cuffs and collar bore ample marks of time, he made
his appearance in the dining-room or hall, where a high stool or
an education chair was placed for him near his master, at whose
old jokes and worn-out tales he felt obliged to laugh, while he
indulged in such luxuries as fowls’ necks and odd ends of
pudding, washed down by a single glass of wine.

His labours were now over for the night, unless it were the sugar
harvest, and then he was expected to return to the boiling-house,
where, amid clouds of densest steam, he remained until twelve or
one in the morning, and then, as the last copper was cooled down,
he marched off the tired negroes, and, having well locked the
door, quitted the furnace-like heat of the building to wend his
weary way home in the cold night air.

During former days of slavery, it has often been the practice to
carry on the boiling of sugar throughout the whole night. Upon
such occasions, the poor overseer had to keep his place in the
boiling-house, to see that the slaves attended to their duty.
There is an anecdote told of a West Indian overseer which proves
him to have been rather clever in the art of dissimulation. He
was a man of reserved manners and of extreme taciturnity, seldom
speaking to the negroes, unless, indeed, giving them a stroke or
two from a rattan which, from custom, he carried in his hand, can
be termed _speaking;_ but he was a favourite with his employer,
who thought him _watchful_ as well as careful—two very necessary
virtues in days of slavery. From some cause or the other, he had
lost the sight of one of his eyes, but which disaster, from a
latent spark of pride, he was very desirous of concealing. While
in the “boiling-house” during the day, quietly seated in his
cherry-tree chair, and narrowly watching the movements of the
negroes, it was his custom to place his hand over the affected
organ. But as evening came on, and “tired nature” craved repose,
he altered his plan of operation, and covering his other eye, he
allowed his rayless orb to glare “horribly stern” upon the
toiling slaves, who, unconscious of his visual defect, and noting
his movements, by which one of his eyes was ever apparently fixed
upon them, exclaimed—“Eh! eh! war dis?—buckra oberseer cleber
true; he make one yeye (eye) sleep while toder keep watch!”

To return to our overseer’s duty. Perhaps some of my readers may
be inclined to think this kind of life described not the most
enviable, and their “good luck” in meeting with such a situation
very illusory. Like, however, the solitary waste in the Eastern
story of “Abdallah,” this life of drudgery leads to riches. A few
years over, and if the overseer is “smart” in his business, he
gets promoted to “manager,” marries, perhaps, his former master’s
daughter, or some other fair one, starts his horse and gig,
purchases a dozen or two of wine, and a decent suit of clothes;
and what with his salary, and the pickings and gleanings procured
from off the property, he begins to make a show, and ventures to
give a dinner-party to the “great people.”

Another year or so, and if the island is blessed with fine and
copious rains, and the estate makes a good crop in consequence,
the proprietor in England experiences great delight, and by the
return packet, despatches a commission, promoting our _ci-devant_
overseer to the situation of attorney as well as manager. Now, in
truth, he begins to raise his head, like other mushrooms after a
shower of rain, and thinks himself a man of family. His gig is
replaced by a rattling, shaking, tumble-down carriage, drawn by a
pair of spavined horses, and further graced by a shoeless
coachman, his head surmounted by a pitiful beaver, encircled by a
gold or silver band, his only other article of livery consisting
of a scarlet waistcoat, made perhaps from some cast-off militia
uniform. A little meagre black boy, whose habiliments are upon a
similar scale to the coachman’s, serves the office of footman,
and attends upon “the ladies” in their morning drive, with a
grace and grimace most admirably seconded by the monkeys in the
zoological gardens of London. Nor is the starting of this
equipage all that marks the change; Mr. Attorney becomes more
egotistical every day—his cellar receives a stock of champagne,
(_or perry_,) and he cries, “Taste my wine—it is excellent, I do
assure you. I cannot drink bad wine; I have never been used to
it!” His larder becomes replenished with richer fare. “Try this
turtle-soup,” says he; “you’ll find it superb—my cook is
celebrated for his skill. I can tolerate nothing that is
indifferent at _my table_.” He procures a commission in the
militia, and sets up for the house of assembly; and being
elected, takes his place among that august body with a vast deal
of dignity. He makes no long speeches, ’tis true; but, instead,
shakes his head with an overpowering gravity, and insinuates, “I
think the more,” taking good care, however, to chime in with the
strongest party.

His family becomes of some importance; his sons are intended for
the bar, or the church; and one is destined to step into his own
shoes. He next looks out for some poor damsel, who, to save
herself from actual starvation, agrees to wear out her strength,
and prostrate her talents in endeavouring to inculcate into the
minds of his daughters the elementary branches of education for a
sum your washerwoman would scorn to take.

Thus, as we have seen, the overseer rises to manager, the manager
to attorney, and, like the worthless grub, when it puts on the
butterfly’s painted wings, and, soaring on the bland and
beautiful zephyr, scorns his former race, who yet remain
grovelling in the dust, and fancies itself of a higher creation;
so the attorney, as he gains the pinnacle of his ambition,
forgets his former lowly state and penniless pockets, and, with
haughty brow and over weening pride, proclaims himself an
aristocrat. How very fast mushrooms do spring up!

But it may be asked, “What salary does an attorney receive to
enable him to keep up all this state of grandeur? surely it must
be something handsome?” In answer, it must be remarked, that such
affairs are not conducted in the West Indies as they are in
England. This is the country for a poor man to make a display in—
here he may run his carriage without fearing a visit from a
tax-gatherer; or dress up his servant in livery without having to
pay 1l. 4s. per annum. His wine costs him about 2s. sterling per
bottle; claret, 1s.; and “real Cognac” can be obtained for 2s.
6d. Before emancipation, the attorney and manager employed as
many of the slaves as suited them, in the capacity of domestic
servants, which slaves were of course fed from the estate
provision; then the attorney has one or two horses allowed him,
and if he purchases any more from his private funds, the estate
finds them in corn and grass; he keeps a flock of sheep, for
which the property also stands caterer; and now and then his
employer may forward him a hogshead of porter, or a pipe of
Madeira, besides other little presents, consisting of barrels of
beef, or pork, or any other little matters. Thus, in the end, his
pomp and grandeur is kept up at a very moderate charge to his own

It cannot be supposed that I intend to assert, that the
aristocracy of Antigua is wholly composed of the _fungi_ tribe,
or that all her planters are of the upstartish class it has
pleased me to describe. Far from it; an attentive perusal of
these pages will prove, on the contrary, that there are to be
found among them families, whose genealogical tree bears many a
goodly shoot—through whose veins runs a stream of England’s
richest blood: the names of Warner, Williams, Byam, Martin,
Ottleys, with many others, have long stood pre-eminent in the
annals of Antigua; while their descendants have kept up their
high station in the society of the island.

But to return to the mushroom gentry. While they are travelling
the high-road to preferment and honour, their wives are
proceeding with railway speed in the paths of affectation and
conceit. From the more useful occupations of washing their own
clothes, and mending their own stockings, they now play the part
of “my lady,” and pass their time in lolling upon a sofa, with an
open book before them, ready to take up should “company” arrive;
or with wondering ears, listen to their daughters bungling
through one of Mozart’s waltzes, or stammering over a French

Yet it is but proper to observe, all the “ladies” of this class
of aristocrats do not spend their time in this indolent manner.
No—far from it. Many of them have an eye to business amid all
their grandeur, and keep, in a little tenement adapted to the
purpose, a good stock of salt pork and salt fish; mackerels,
herrings, and “alewives;”[55] corn-flour, tobacco, and candles;
besides various articles of finery and coarse cloths, which they
dispense to the negroes upon the neighbouring estates, at the
very moderate profit of about 50 per cent.! Nor is this the
sum-total of their industry; their yard is well supplied with
poultry, their gardens with vegetables, if they lack flowers; and
many a goodly-sized swine enriches their pigsties. When these
last-mentioned quadrupeds have exchanged their Saxon for their
Norman names, as “Wamba” observes, the lady of the house, on
“notable thoughts intent,” packs up their delicate “sides and
quarters,” and conveys them, or has them conveyed, to a snug
corner of the carriage about to convey her honourable husband to
the capital, to meet in “conclave grave” his noble compeers.
After setting down their master at the door of the court-house,
“Mr. John,” the coachman, or “Mr. Thomas,” the footman, draws
these choice viands from their retreat; and while the owner of
the defunct pigs is busy in making laws, or settling the affairs
of nations, his servants are disposing of them to the best
bidder, or laying in a store of bread in their stead. In the same
manner, corn-fed mutton, poultry, eggs, and fresh butter, find
their way to St. John’s market; and, by the magician-like wand of
commerce, return to our manager’s managing lady, in the form of
wine, tea, or loaf-sugar.

Of course, when these “ladies of distinction” draw on their
mitts, and make their appearance in the drawing-room, the _shop_
is banished from thoughts and conversation; and if not
literature, at least topics of scandal, rank, and lineage, are
discussed in its place. Some great-great-grandfather, who, from
some freak of royalty has been dubbed knight, or else some
imaginary kinsman, is called up from their long-forgotten tomb,
to stand as a kind of foundation to their present greatness.

Their daughters are carefully instructed in all the various modes
of setting forth their own charms, and of publishing their own
exalted rank, by expressing their contempt for all beneath them.
The scornful toss of the head, the disdainful curve of the
upper-lip, the affected heave of the shoulders, the insolent
stare, and the air of proud condescension, is studied with far
more intenseness than their grammars or geographies. Meet them
where you will, in the place of worship or the “public show,”
their manners are equally haughty; and their boasted pretension
to superiority is even expressed in the very bending of their
knees, when in acts of supposed adoration.

The more juvenile part of the community are, of course, debarred
by their youth from keeping up with proper dignity their rank in
life; but in the very nursery, the lessons of pride and
affectation are engrafted, soon to become strong and flourishing

The days of extreme ignorance are certainly passed; the days when
the young white Creole was left entirely to the care of their
black, or low-coloured nurses, who imagined they could not better
discharge their duty than by giving them their own way. The days
when girls of fourteen could find no other amusement than, seated
upon the floor, amid their negro attendants, to pass their time
in eating “sling,” or sucking sugar-canes, while their listless
mothers lay stretched upon their couch, leaving their children to
learn their alphabet as best they could. In later years, as
before remarked, a poor English girl is generally procured to
instruct them in the early branches of knowledge, curl their
hair, and teach them their “steps,” until the period arrives when
their parents deem it necessary to send them to England, and
place them at some suburban seminary. Here they are taught to
sketch a landscape, complete a butterfly in Poonah painting, play
some of the fashionable airs, with variations, upon a piano,
speak Anglicised French, dance a quadrille, and perhaps embroider
a footstool. Their education is then supposed to be completed,
and they are re-shipped to the West Indies, to astonish “papa and
mamma,” play their part upon the theatre of life, and swell the
ranks of the female _coterie_.

In the days when the militia was in being in Antigua, the ladies
of these self-elected aristocrats, were very fond of alluding to
the martial rank of their relatives, particularly in their visits
to England—talking of “my husband, the colonel,” “Capt. X———, my
papa,” or “Lieut. Z———, my brother.” The gentlemen, many of them,
were also very proud of wearing their uniform upon “field-day,”
which occurred once a month, and no doubt felt themselves, as
they buckled on their glittering swords, like “Hudibras, grow
valorous.” The governor, as commander of the force, was allowed
by the militia laws an honorary staff, which consisted of six
officers, who bore the local rank of lieutenant-colonels.

An anecdote is related of a gentleman of Antigua, who formed one
of this _cortège_, and who was no little pleased with his high
rank, and garnished shoulders. Business or pleasure called him to
England, and he carried “home” with him his growing daughters to
gather instruction, and his smart aide-de-camp’s dress to reap
applause. Arrived in London, and the fatigues of the voyage over,
our aide-de-camp arrayed himself in his gay uniform, and hiring a
carriage, drove with his daughters to a fashionable seminary. His
card was sent in “Lieutenant-colonel ———” and the lady of the
establishment met him with all possible grace, and bowed and
courtesied to his inquiries with elegant obsequiousness. No
references were of course asked for—no entrance money demanded:
his gay apparel was a sufficient passport, and the gentle
“_maitresse d’ecole_” only thought herself too happy in acquiring
the patronage of an officer of such high rank.

Time sped on, and the recess was at hand—the young ladies
remained with their instructress during its period—the scholastic
duties were again resumed, and another six months passed away.
The various items swelled to a vast amount, yet no remittance
came—no aide-de-camp made his appearance. A faintish tremour
played around the lady’s heart, and, unwillingly, she began to
think of moneyless “soldiers of fortune.” Letters were despatched
to put the tardy sire in remembrance of his daughters’
improvements in their various studies, and urge for a
remuneration. But alas! like “sleep,” at the call of our fourth
“Henry,” it came not; and in the end, the lady was only too happy
to get rid of her fair charges without receiving any payment,
resolving, however, in her mind, never to trust again a West
Indian _aide-de-camp_.


[53] It is an erroneous opinion held by some English people, that
only coloured persons are called _Creoles;_ the word being, in
its proper sense, applied to all who are born in the West Indies.

[54] These two classes are of coarse subdivided into many others,
according to their different stages in society.

[55] A description of salted fish, brought from America.

                        CHAPTER XLVIII.

  The pure in blood—Aristocrats of the higher order—Law, physic,
  and divinity—Merchants and planters—Proprietors’ dwellings—A
  day at a country-seat—Gastronomy—Beef—“Mary Swift”—Mutton—Pork—
  Turtle and City aldermen—Christmas.

Having, in the preceding chapter, glanced at the “rise and
progress” of the _mushroom_ part of the aristocracy, it may be
deemed requisite for me to enlarge upon the merits of those
members of that body who, to present high bearing, add the claim
of good descent. And yet I know not what to say more than I have
done already in many parts of these pages, that they are fully
entitled to the respect they so universally meet with. For among
them are to be found men of superior knowledge, and distinguished
by the possession of all the cardinal virtues; men in whom
dignity of station is blended with kindliness of heart, and who,
amid the blessings wherewith Providence has blessed them, have an
open purse, and an outstretched hand, ever ready to administer to
the wants of their less fortunate brethren; men of agreeable
manners and pleasing conversation, and whose intercourse with the
polite circle in other parts of the world has corrected any
little errors they might have imbibed from their West Indian mode
of life, and divested them of that narrow-minded spirit so much
to be deplored.

In this class of individuals are to be found the Creole
proprietor, as well as those who may have purchased estates
within these last few years, and, in consequence, emigrated from
England, clergymen, barristers, and physicians, merchants and
planters, the offspring of the soil itself, or wanderers from the
several countries of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

I have already spoken of the worth of many of the clergymen; men
who practise what they preach, and who, in their private as well
as public life, shew forth, by the fruit they bear, that they are
branches of the _true vine_. The barristers are generally
considered men of distinguished abilities, and some of them plead
with powerful eloquence. They also act as solicitors and
attorneys; but they honour the profession too much to speculate
in cargoes of horses or corn-meal, as some of their brothers of
the profession are said to do in an island not seventy miles from
Antigua. In that colony there is at the present day a firm,
consisting of three parties, who, to their numerous duties of
pleading before the bar, add the more primeval occupation of
agriculturists, the partners taking it by turns to play the
planter for the space of three years,[56] and so leaving Coke,
Blackstone, and similar other worthies, study instead the art of
_planting canes_ and _boiling sugar_. How far their professional
knowledge retains its vigour in the interim their several clients
can best tell; I suppose they refrain from tasting the waters of
Lethe, but pay daily orisons at the shrine of Mnemosyne. It must
not be supposed that all the barristers of the island in question
engage in such diversified occupations; many of them pay as much
respect to their profession as their brethren of Antigua do, and
among them are to be found some very clever men. One in
particular is possessed of very superior qualifications, and his
eloquent pleading would gain attention and merit applause even
within the ancient walls of Westminster. His name is also known
in the literary world, and his “Commentaries” upon the laws of
his native island have no doubt often materially benefited his
brother barristers. It is, of course, a work that would not call
for general attention, from its local nature; but if once taken
up, the author employs so many pleasing bands with which to bind
his bundle of _law leaves_ together, that the reader is
irresistibly led to peruse it to the end.

To return to Antigua. Perhaps the most eminent member of the
Antiguan bar is a Mr. James Scotland, who, although he does not
often indulge in that flowery style of oratory which some of his
brethren of the long robe do, speaks with powerful emphasis, and
is grounded in all the mazy doctrines of the law. Mr. S. is a
scion of a goodly stock. His ancestors emigrated from the mother
country, and became settlers in Antigua, in which island they
filled official situations at an early period, and where they
have ever maintained a high character for philanthropy and
liberal principles, even in days of prejudicial darkness. Such a
line of conduct has often drawn down persecution upon the members
of this family; but at length they have met with the reward of
their unflinching perseverance in seeing that large portion of
the Antiguan community whose interests they have ever supported,
enjoying the privileges of British subjects, without regard to
complexional prejudice.

The merchants are in most instances unexceptionable characters;
the planters rank high in agricultural knowledge and
respectability; and the physicians are, I believe, generally
noted for their eminent skill. It must be remarked that in this
last-named profession there are no gradations, all the medical
men ranking as M.D., whether they have attained that degree or
not; and so far is this custom carried by the illiterate, that
the very black or coloured boys, who are generally employed to
handle the pestle, also go by the title of “doctor;” nor is it an
uncommon circumstance for these illegitimate sons of Galen to be
called in to visit patients and perform those particular branches
of surgery, phlebotomy and extracting of teeth. The first
physician in Antigua is a Dr. F., a man of versatile and
brilliant talents—an able logician, well versed in polite
literature, of energetic manner, and, what is above all,
possessed of deep, heart-felt philanthropy, based upon that
golden maxim, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto

Some of the proprietors’ dwellings, situated upon their several
estates, in the most cultivated parts of the island, are mansions
which would not disgrace the parks of our English country
gentlemen. They, in most instances, are built upon gently
swelling eminences, spots of extreme beauty; and the contrast
they display between their dazzling white walls, and the deep
verdure of their surrounding groves, over-canopied by a sky of
intense blue, strikes pleasingly upon the eye; while the interior
is fitted up in a style worthy the taste of the occupiers.

The approach to many of these edifices is by stately avenues of
cedars, whose bright laurel-like leaves set off to advantage the
bunches of delicate trumpet-shaped flowers. Others, again, have
the carriage-road bordered by noble rows of cocoa-nuts or
palmettos, whose long graceful branches bend to the breeze, which
makes pleasing melody as it sighs among them. Their country-seats
embrace prospects of inexpressible loveliness. Nothing of what is
generally termed the sublime, it is true—no frowning precipices
or gigantic mountains, whose hoary heads are ever hid in the
clouds—no impetuous cataracts rushing down the face of wild and
blackened rocks, and hiding at length their angry waters in some
dreadful abyss; the scene is of a more quiet nature, one where
there is such a rich harmony of colouring, such a blending of
earth, and sea, and sky, (for from almost all parts of the island
the ocean can be seen,) that as the eye gazes thereon, a pleasing
calm comes over the beholder, and every discordant passion sinks
to rest.[57]

In these mansions, a system of open but elegant hospitality is
kept up; and like gentlemen’s country-seats in England, they are
seldom devoid of puissant knights and lovely damsels. The day
passes as most days do in the country. Ample respect is paid to
the well-stocked breakfast table, where every West Indian luxury
abounds; and then the gentlemen separate to pursue their
respective avocations; ride round their estates, and mark the
progress of their canes, or as it is said, to hear them grow;
visit the capital, to perform their legislative duties, pay their
respects to his excellency the governor, or scan over accounts
with their agents. The ladies, in the meantime, amuse themselves
with various feminine and elegant employments; sometimes
accompanying their soft voices upon the piano, or on well-strung
harps, playing over those melting ditties which once brought
tears into the eyes of the “gentle shepherd,” or the matchless
ploughman of Ayrshire. Others frequent the library, where the
works of our best writers may be met with; but the
spirit-stirring volumes of a Gore, a James, or incomparable
“Boz,” are much more eagerly sought after, than a Boyle, a Locke,
or a Newton; but few of our West Indian ladies study philosophy
or metaphysics; a novel, a poem, a book of plays, or modern
travels, are the highest steps they take in literature.

At length comes the hour of luncheon, when other delicacies are
produced, and duly indulged in; and then the duties of the toilet
have to be attended to—a stray ringlet or a captivating dimple
taken to task—a smile, a look, or an attitude studied, until the
time arrives when a drive in the carriage, or a stroll through
some pleasant vale, is practicable. After enjoying these
exercises for some time, the dressing-room is once more sought,
and beauty receives every assistance that art can give her, in
direct opposition to the advice of the author of the “Seasons.”

About seven, the whole party assemble around the dinner-table,
where luxurious fare and choice wines receive additional _gusto_
from a profusion of handsome plate, rich glass, snowy
table-linen, and a well-lighted apartment. I cannot in this
place, pass over the head of all West Indian confectionary, a
_floating island_, without further mention. Could I give an
authentic recipe for the making of it, my patriotic spirit would
lead me immediately to do so; but as that is not in my power, I
can only say it is compounded of cream, sugar, guava jelly, and
citron, and is of all sweets the very sweetest. Despite what
Baron Munchausen says to the contrary, I could, were all floating
islands like it, willingly live upon them; and consequently, his
strenuous exertions in driving stakes through them, to render
them stationary, as of erst he says he did St. Christopher’s,
would meet with no thanks from me.

Dr. Johnson has remarked that the hour of dinner is the most
important of the twenty-four; be it so; like all other important,
as well as unimportant matters, time at length brings it to a
close. The drawing-room is once more sought, and in lively
conversation, or listening to soft strains of music, which our
lamented _Mrs. Hemans_ has so beautifully eulogized, the evening
passes away, or is closed in with a sprightly quadrille.

All West Indians of the higher rank keep a good table; indeed,
the custom has become proverbial. Not only does the island
contribute its fish, flesh, and fowl, but France and England pay
a tribute in the shape of potted meats and soup. The native beef,
it must be allowed, is horrible—lean, tough, and sinewy, it
requires all your masticatory powers to demolish it, and proves
not a bad illustration of the conundrum, “_If_ tough beef-steaks
could speak, what English poet would they name?” “Chaw-sir,”
(Chaucer.) Some West Indians, however, have asserted that they do
not like English beef, it is so “fat and tender!” so much for
custom. But the indifferent quality of the Creole beef is easily
accounted for, when the state of the animal before it is killed
is considered. The cattle bred upon the island, although very
small, are used instead of horses in agricultural labour, and are
of consequence of great value to the planter. They therefore
seldom think of killing them while it is possible for them to be
put to the plough, or worked in the cart; but when the planter
finds that they are utterly unfit for work, and that death will
soon put an end to their toil, or when a cow has become so old
and emaciated as to be unable to rear her calves, they make a
virtue of necessity, and give them up to the care of one of the
old men or women, who feed them about the estate for a few weeks,
and occasionally give them a little corn-meal to fatten them, and
then sell them to the butcher.

I have seen some of these _antediluvian_ creatures, if I may be
allowed to use that term, coming into the capital, particularly
about Christmas, lame and blind, faltering at every step they
made, that it has been a matter of surprise to me how they were
able to reach the shambles; but, poor creatures! there they
arrive, sooner or later, are quickly despatched, and, about seven
o’clock the next morning, you may hear the bellman hallooing out—
“Oyes! oyes! a fine fat ox, bery fat, indeed, to be had at the
shambles of Mary Swift,” of famed renown! who, in person, amply
makes up in longitude what she loses in latitude. I cannot help
remarking, in this place, how much more humane the mode of
killing these animals, practised in Antigua, appears than that
customary in England. Here are no horrible slaughter-houses,
still reeking with the blood of those slain before, to harass the
poor animal’s sense of smelling, and call for the assistance of
those cruel ropes to pull it in; neither is the dire mallet used,
which often requires so many strokes before life is extinct. A
little grass is scattered down beneath the shade of some
spreading tree, to which the creature is tied, and as it bends
its head, the butcher, with a sharp knife, separates the spinal
marrow between the horns, and death is instant.

The mutton introduced at the table of the gentry is
super-excellent—small, tender, and not too fat; something like
the Welsh mutton so justly esteemed by the opulent in England. It
is generally fed upon the Indian-corn, and gentlemen kill for
their own use. That procured at the shambles is generally very
indifferent, and not unfrequently goat mutton. Pork is another
viand admitted at times to enlarge the table-store. It is
considered by some to be the first meat in the West Indies; this,
however, I cannot accede to; the warmth of the climate is against
it, and makes it appear unseasonable. Goldsmith, in his “Manners
and Customs,” mentions that pigs in the West Indies were always
fed upon sugar-canes. I have made inquiries upon this _important_
subject, and from the answers received, and my own observations,
am inclined to think that the family of grunters are forced to be
content with less luscious fare. Upon estates, when grinding,
they may, perhaps, get a share of what is termed the _mill-bed_,
but that is all the production of the cane they are allowed to
participate in, unless they march into a cane-field of their own
accord, and stand a chance of getting shot or stuck for their
pains, for a watchman is ever looking out for such intruders, to
whom he plays the executioner’s part, and, after decollating,
takes, by right of law, the head for his own share.

Poultry is also a standing dish at a West Indian dinner. Before
emancipation, all kinds of feathered stock were very plentiful,
and very cheap; fowls could be purchased for from 6d. to 8s.
each, and turkeys, geese, guinea-birds, and ducks, in the same
proportion; but now it is different, the negroes requiring higher
prices for them. Most country gentlemen have, however, a
poultry-yard attached to their residence, and thus escape the
necessity of having to send, perhaps, half over the island before
their want can be supplied.

Rabbits and pigeons are occasionally added to the luxuries of the
Creole banquet; and venison finds its way from the neighbouring
island of Barbuda. Several very excellent kinds of fish, the
produce both of sea and fresh water, and shell-fish, allure the
eye of the epicure; and last, _not least_, the delicious turtle,
which at certain seasons is vended weekly at 9d. sterling per
pound! with all its rich green fat, its white and yellow eggs!
What would a city alderman say to this? would not his imagination
revel in all the delights of _calipash_ and _calipee_, and _real_
turtle soup? not made of beef and calf’s head, with a few pieces
of turtle floating in it, to _stand its god-father_, as a late
gastronomic writer so aptly describes such soup as may be
obtained at the “London Tavern,” or Cornhill, although that is
reckoned very excellent in its way. We are very soon to have the
steam ships running, or rather galloping, between England and
these islands; and I really think it would well repay that very
honourable body the “lord mayor, the sheriffs, and aldermen of
London,” to take a trip, if it was only to partake of turtle in
perfection, and quaff a glass of Madeira, mellowed beneath this
burning sun.

Although hospitality is ever practised in Antigua, Christmas is
the season of the year when conviviality is at its height. Then
relatives meet together from all parts of the island,—then
friendly compacts are renewed, and family differences happily
adjusted, and sweet Concord, with beaming smile, wreaths once
more her golden chain. Although no glittering green mistletoe,
that “holy bough,” hangs pendant from the ceiling, and calls the
attention of flashing eyes to its mystic berries, the fragrant
pimento adorns the halls of the rich, as well as the cottages of
the poor, while the laugh and song and

    “Mirth-moving jest,”

throw around their pleasing witcheries. The tables groan beneath
their burdens; and among their goodly fare may be found, as the
old Christmas carol expresses it—

    “Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast beef.”


[56] The estate belongs to “the firm.”

[57] The principal of these country residences are—“Claremont,”
the seat of the Hon. R. E. Williams; “Cedar Hill,” the seat of
the Hon. Wm. Byam, both of them truly paternal looking edifices;
“Gilbert,” the seat of the Rev. Nat. Gilbert; “Mount Joshua,” the
seat of the Hon. Bertie E. Jarvis; Green Castle, the seat of Sir
H. Martin, &c.

                         CHAPTER XLIX.

  The pure in blood—Places of amusement—The theatre—“Romeo
  Coates”—Jugglers and rope-dancers—Maroon parties—Shooting
  season—The Creole beauties—Dress—“The lords of the creation”—
  Fops and foppery—Business hours—Scene at the Antigua
  post-office—Auction sales—Militia doings—The gallant dragoon—

There are but few places of public amusement in Antigua; no
malls, or parks, or Kensington gardens,—no morning concerts,
Colosseums, or exhibition-rooms,—no “Almacks” of an evening,[58]
or box at the opera, where the Creole beauty may shew forth her
charms with _eclât_. The Antiguan _belle_ has to trust to fortune
to bring her admirers;

    “Unknowingly she strikes, and kills by chance,”

as Dryden expresses it.

A few years ago, however, there was a theatre in Antigua,[59]
which now and then was frequented by a straggling company of
players, who, in their trips about the West Indies, called in at
Antigua to delight and surprise the inhabitants with their
dramatic lore. Then “Macbeth” grasped his gory dagger,—“Hamlet”
stalked about in sable suit,—“Othello” raved, or “Jaffier”
stormed,—then poor “Juliet” wept, or “Desdemona” prayed, and many
other heroes and heroines of the stage “mouth’d” and “saw’d the
air,” with all the grace that strolling players are noted for.
Their ranks augmented by some gentlemen amateur performers of
Antigua, who, not content with entering the lists as knights of
the “buskin and sock,” like Hercules, put on the _petticoats_, to
shew, I suppose, their diversity of talents. Much cannot be said
for the performance upon these occasions. One gentleman, in his
metamorphosis, forgot to divest himself of his “Wellington
boots,” and there was such a clattering and stamping about with
him, when playing the part of the waiting woman, that I verily
believed the boards were in danger.

The well-known and eccentric “Romeo Coates,” as he is generally
called in London, is a native of Antigua; and many and oft have
been the nights, when he has made his bow before an Antiguan
audience, and trusting in his histrionic powers, claimed the
chaplet which Fame has woven for stage-struck heroes. The
playhouse has, however, been levelled with the ground; and its
site is now occupied by a very respectable private
dwelling-house, in place of the shabby temple, formerly
appropriated to the tragic and comic muse.

Although the theatre is “no more,” Antigua is not always devoid
of public exhibitions. A juggler, or a rope-dancer, now and then
makes his appearance, and having procured an empty store or loft,
throws his body into ten thousand different contortions, for the
amusement of those who feel inclined to throw in their dollars.
At other times, a dwarf, or an “infant phenomenon,” do their best
to call a smile into the face of their audience; or a ship-load
of _yankees_, with their stud of horses, and an “incomparable
female rider,” as their play-bills have it, erect their marquee
upon the barrack-ground, and for the small remuneration of a
dollar, spring over the moon almost, or act the part of a spitted
ox, dressed by the heat of fire-works.

During the absence of these “professional characters,” the
Antiguans have other methods for getting rid of the time that
hangs too heavy upon their hands. Now and then a _maroon party_,
or West Indian _fête champetre_, is given; when groups of
beautiful girls and gallant youths, stayed matrons, and gentlemen
of riper years, assemble together, with full purpose to enjoy the
passing hours. Some sweet spot, generally near the sea-side, is
chosen for the day’s resort; or else some

    “—— green and silent spot amid the hills,
    A small and silent dell.”

And beneath the shade of some far-spreading trees, whose boughs
form natural arcades, their rural banquet is spread. Various
pastoral sports are here enjoyed; and although no “Weippert’s
band” is in attendance, the sound of the lively violin, or
soft-breathing flute, often floats across the blue waters, and
mingles with the murmur of the playful wavelets.

At different periods of the year, fancy sales are held in the
court-house, when all classes congregate together, from the
governor’s lady, to the lady of the agricultural labourer. These,
with balls at government house, now and then, and occasional
quadrille parties at private houses, Bible and missionary
meetings, and rides and drives in the afternoons, or walks by
moonlight, constitute the chief _amusements_ of the Creole

The gentlemen vary these pastimes with occasional regattas and
races, a day’s rabbit-shooting upon Long Island, or, in the
season, they deal destruction with their murderous guns upon the
poor winged tribe, who pay us annual visits. The shooting season
commences about September, when plovers, teals, and wild ducks
migrate from America to these islands, although the quail remains
with us throughout the year. There are game-laws now in force in
Antigua, and consequently, every sportsman has to take out a
licence, before he is at liberty to endanger the lives of the
birds, or may be, the safety of the queen’s subjects. Some few
years ago, this was not the case; and whoever felt inclined, went
out shooting. Cobblers, tailors, butcher-boys, and carpenters,
were immediately metamorphosed into gentlemen, and gun-in-hand,
shot-belt and powder-flask slung round them, left the trammels of
the shop and the work-bench, to wage war against the feathered

Many of the white Creole girls are very beautiful. Their
complexions may vie with the purest Parian marble; while the
softest, most delicate rose-tint mantles in their cheeks, and
every blue vein can be traced, as it courses through their
polished foreheads. The long glossy ringlet, the drooping
eyelash, and the penciled brow, relieve, while they set off,
their natural white; and the little coral lip, and pearly teeth,
make up a _tout ensemble_, more lovely than can be told. Beauty
has ofttimes been compared to flowers, and when looking at some
of these lovely Creoles, they bring to mind that sweet and
elegant rose, known in England as “the maiden’s blush.” In person
they are generally _petite_, and their hands and feet are
faultless as regards shape or size. Canova might have chosen them
as a model for his Venus. What a pity it is, that extreme
affectation should, in so many instances, spoil their manners,
and deteriorate from their natural charms. Dress is carried to a
great extent. Every pew in the church looks as gay as a box at
the opera. Such feathers and flowers, mantelets and cloaks; such
_capotes_ of _tulle_, and cardinal pelerines; such corsages _à la
vierge_, and skirts _à la Corinne_—crispins of lace, and I know
not what besides, are exhibited by the Antiguan belles, as would
surprise any one who is not well versed in all the changes of the
arbitrary rule of fashion.

From a glance at the ladies it is but right I should turn to the
“lords of the creation,” and remark a few of their peculiarities.
In a small community like Antigua, it is not to be supposed there
are to be met such extreme contrast in dress and appearance as in
the crowded streets of London—and yet some of the gentlemen
emulate the “fops” of Regent-street, while others, again, are so
_outré_ in appearance, that we involuntarily exclaim, “From what
habitable part of the globe could this creature have sprung?” As
is generally the case, the younger gentlemen are those who enlist
under the banners of “foppery;” and then there is such a display
of exquisitely-fitting coats, brilliant satin waistcoats, and
voluminous stocks, or reversed collars and cuffs, and throats _à
la Byron;_ such pointed boots and pumps, clerical-looking hats,
and elegant canes! with wasp-like waists, flowing locks, and
languishing manners, that had Adonis lived in these days and seen
the Antiguan beaux, he would, most undoubtedly, have despised his
own inartificial charms, and have cried with King Richard—

    “I’ll be at charges for a _looking-glass_
    And entertain a score or two of tailors
    To study fashions to adorn my body.”

The gentlemen of more advanced years very generally patronize the
blue-coat-and- white-waistcoat school, and some of them follow
the almost obsolete custom of powdering the hair; but white is
the prevailing morning-dress among all classes and all ages, a
dress of all others best suited to this warm climate.

As bright Hyperion takes from the Creole maidens the _glowing_
tints for which England’s daughters are so famed, so he thinks it
but fair to play many pranks with the complexions of the
gentlemen who own his much-loved and frequented island as their
home. Some he renders so pale and wan, that they appear like
gliding spectres; others are as fiery red as the old English
country market-women’s cloaks with which they enwrap themselves
when Winter holds his despotic reign; while some, again, present
the deeper tinge of a full-blown peony; when to these latter
shades are added the silvery honours of old age, the _tout
ensemble_ is most striking.

The hours of business in Antigua are from about six in the
morning to four in the afternoon; after that period, the lawyer
leaves his musty books and all his _pros_ and _cons;_ the
merchant quits his counting-house, his day-book, and his ledger;
the dealer in fashions and furbelows shuts his varied store; even
the professors of the lancet abandon, for a time, the _cure_ of
the _incurables;_ and away they all hurry, on “pleasure bent,” to
enjoy the exercise of riding, driving, or walking, until the day
draws to a close, and their watches point the hour of dinner.

Many circumstances, however, occur during these “business hours”
which calls for the presence of the trader as well as the
professional man. The packet from England is signalized, and away
they scamper to the post-office, almost before the mails are
landed, to the utter consternation of the poor post-master, and,
with anxious eyes and clamorous tongues, crowd the office-door.
At length, two or three burly sailors, followed by the commander
of the packet, a lieutenant in the navy, are seen approaching the
spot, bearing upon their broad-built shoulders the
long-looked-for mail-bags, well secured in their leathern
envelops. The pushing and jostling increases, as gig after gig
dashes up and sets down its several passengers—horsemen curvet
about, at which lank and miserable-looking dogs bark,
servant-boys grin and chatter—and a group of little children,
just dismissed from one of the free schools, stand gazing
thereon, and wondering “war make dem buckra care so much ’bout

Oh, what a _hurly burly_ it is! what a noise and discord! what a
pushing, and scrambling, and puffing, and panting! At length, the
door is opened, and the postmaster announces, in not very dulcet
tones, “the letters will not be out for two hours,” and closes
the portal again. A look of dismay and vexation overspreads the
countenance of all. The first turns to his neighbour, and he, in
_his turn_, looks to the one behind him; one mutters, “How
provoking!” and another says, “I hate to be served so!” while one
of the applicants, a melancholy-looking man, observes, in an
important voice, “The letters _must be sorted_, you know.” As no
good can be effected by waiting, they finally disperse, and
endeavour to while away the time until, the two hours having
elapsed, they again besiege the office. A well-applied rap
summons the postmaster. “Are the letters out?”—“No, they will not
be out for another hour!” Time, however, brings many things to
pass, and the letters are at length sorted. Happy now does that
individual feel himself whose name begins with an “A”—for they
always conduct this business alphabetically. A silence ensues,
the letters are distributed, and, too anxious to know their
contents, their several receivers open them upon the spot.

Various is the intelligence received, as seal after seal is
broken—manifold the subjects discussed. Some talk of failures of
mercantile houses, others of legacies received or in prospect;
some descant upon politics, and others upon the price of sugars;
while another group peruse the London newspapers, inspect
carefully the list of births, deaths, marriages, and
_bankruptcies_, look to see what the Queen and the court are
doing, and then go forth to publish the “varied accidents by
flood and field.”

Another figure emerges from the office-door. A fine
portly-looking man, whose complexion rivals in colour the
_château margaux_ he so liberally indulges in: a pair of
gold-rimmed spectacles surmounts his well-formed nose, a
substantial-looking umbrella is stuck beneath his arm, while in
one hand is borne an open letter, and in the other, a voluminous
silk handkerchief, and a gold snuff-box almost large enough to
play the part of a portmanteau. “Not bad, though,” he mutters to
himself, as he carefully looks out for the lapses in the stone
platform which runs along the front of the post-office—“not bad,
though; my last ten hogsheads brought 78s. per cwt.; and my agent
tells me the sugar was not so good as the former shipment, or he
should have got higher prices. I must look to what my manager is
doing; he must exert himself more, or he and I must part. Ay—rain
again!” and he inspects the movements of the clouds, and glances
for a moment at the vane upon the church-steeple visible above
the surrounding houses. “Well, let me get home first, and it may
rain as long as it likes—all the better for my canes.” So saying,
he gains his “top-gig,” and carefully stepping in, and placing
his umbrella between his knees, he tells “John” to gather up the
reins, and make haste home. This is a resident proprietor of a
sugar-estate, a man with whom the world has long dealt well.

Another event that makes an inroad into business-hours, is the
occurrence of an auction-sale. When a gentleman or his family
intends paying a visit to England, one of their first
preparations is to “call an auction,” and sell off all their
household furniture, carriages, and horses. Upon these occasions,
they print no compendious catalogues, as is the custom in
England; but an advertisement is inserted in the island weekly
papers, calling the attention of individuals to the fact, that

“The subscriber being about to proceed to England by the first
opportunity, will dispose of all his fashionable household
furniture, lately imported, consisting of,
        Dining, Loo, Card, and other tables, Glass, &c.
Also, a few choice articles of plate and plated goods; also, an
English-built Phaeton and Pair of Horses and
                       A FLOCK OF SHEEP.

                                                          Y. Z.”

Now, this last announcement is but very seldom true. But as Mr.
Robins, of well-known auctioneering celebrity, calls to his aid
all the high sounding words and flaunting descriptions he can
get, to ensure company at his rooms, so the Antiguan auctioneer,
or _vendue-master_, as one of the craft calls himself, throws out
all the sprats he can in hopes of catching whales. The country
managers and overseers are often good purchasers; and to ensure
their company, the bait of a _flock of sheep_ is held out, which
has more effect in bringing them to the scene of action than
anything else. “I have no sheep,” observed a gentleman one day to
an auctioneer he had employed. “Why do you put such notice into
the papers?”—“Oh! I know you have not,” quoth the knight of the
hammer; “but it makes the advertisement look so much better, and
draws the attention of the planters—they all like to come when
sheep are to be sold.”

Upon the day of this important undertaking, a red flag is hoisted
before the house, and the bellman perambulates the streets,
announcing that “the sale is just begun.” Carpets are not taken
up, and beds taken down, mirrors torn from their resting-places,
and pots and pans brought into the drawing-room, as is often the
case in England; but everything remains in its usual situation,
only, perhaps, with a rather stricter eye to order than is
practised in common; and the auctioneer proceeds from one
apartment to the other, until the whole of the articles are
disposed of.

The company assemble about twelve o’clock, and the first lots,
consisting of glass-ware, china ornaments, or similar little
_knick-nacks_, are knocked down _very cheap_. Sangaree is then
handed about; and as its potent influence becomes apparent, the
heavier articles are brought forward, and often obtain high

As another means of ensuring good company and biddings, a kind of
lunch is provided; and then there is such a cutting-up of hams,
tongues, and salt-beef: such a calling for sangaree, punch,
“swizzle,” and porter; such a laughing, choking, talking, and
eating, that a poor quiet body is glad to get into a corner, and
offer up a prayer for silence.

It is not always, be it remarked, that “the subscriber is going
to England,” although such intimation heads the advertisement
that occasions these “auction sales,” for very frequently they
are nothing more than an Antiguan scheme for “_raising the

Previous to the abolition of the militia, field-days and reviews
often occurred, to abstract attention from business. Upon such
occasions, the gentlemen took great pride in exhibiting their
epaulettes and garnished coats.

In proof of this assertion, I need but relate the following
anecdote. A resident of Antigua, who, in days of militia glory,
served in the dragoons, went to a neighbouring island, of which
he was a native, to pay a visit to his friends. In order to
astonish the inhabitants, and create a “sensation,” Mr. ———
determined to land in full uniform. The dress of the dragoons was
very smart, and the swords and steel scabbards they carried, very
long and heavy. Fancy, then, our brave _militaire_, who, by the
bye, is a very short and corpulent personage, with a redundancy
of colour, landing upon a sandy beach, beneath a burning sun, in
all the glory of blue cloth and yellow worsted, with his
Goliah-like weapon, scarcely twelve inches shorter than himself,
dangling, or rather dragging, gracefully by his side. Although of
little stature, he is big of heart; and proudly erecting his
head, and settling his shoulders, he marched along, amid a herd
of astonished boatmen and sea-side loiterers, with all the
dignity of a commander-in-chief. The news spread like wild fire—
astonishment was at its height—for rich and poor, black, white,
and coloured, all thought their _ci-devant_ neighbour was
Fortune’s child, and had been promoted governor of his native
island. Before, however, any procession could be formed, or
salute fired to welcome his arrival, his real rank was
discovered; and as the truth became known, the assembled
multitude one after another departed, and left our gallant
dragoon “alone in his glory.”

In speaking of the militia, I am reminded that I have not yet
mentioned the Christmas guards. Before the emancipation of the
negroes in 1834, martial law was put in force upon the 24th of
December, and continued during the three following days, which,
by law, constituted the Christmas holidays; and a militia guard
stationed at the guard-house in St. John’s, in order to protect
the arsenal from any attack which might be made upon it by the
slaves, who were more at their leisure during that period than at
any other part of the year.

At such times, the whole body of the militia appeared in their
tinselled jackets, and the churches and chapels presented such an
array of glittering steel, and burnished epaulettes, blue and
gold, and red and silver, that the pews looked like beds of
ranunculi. When the guard for the night was comfortably fixed in
the guard-house, a complete scene of dissipation ensued. Wine,
cards, and dice, were liberally indulged in; and not
unfrequently, mirth and festivity paved the way for sorrow, care,
and quarrels. Upon one of these guard-nights, a wealthy German,
since deceased, met with such a run of ill luck at the
gaming-table, that the next morning he was obliged to hire
porters, and despatch the dollars he had lost to the house of his
adversary in _wheel-barrows!_ That was, however, in a time when
dollars were more plentiful in Antigua than they are at the
present day, and when doubloons were in such abundance, that, it
is said, the possessors of these costly coins found it necessary
to deposit them in barrels! But, alas for the bonny little isle!
that golden age has long ago passed by, and in its place we have
one of copper and paper money.

Before concluding this part of my work, I contemplated to enlarge
upon the “traits and trials” of that portion of the Antiguan
community, who, in absence of other qualifications, rest all
their claims to superiority upon the reputation of their being
_white people_. As these sketches, however, have been already
lengthened more than at first intended, but a very brief mention
of this class of individuals can be given.

I would not for one moment have it supposed that I am so
heartless as to upbraid them with their poverty—far be it from me
to hint at such a thing—no; it is their pride, their overweening
pride, I notice, and their hard struggles to ape _the ton_, while
at the same time they condescend to receive the parish allowance,
which ought really to be applied to the benefit of those who
possess humbler minds. The “son of Sirach” in his wisdom, saith—
“Three sorts of men my soul hateth, and I am greatly offended at
their lives;” and first among the trio he mentions, “a poor man
that is proud.” Now, without making use of such a strong
expression as _hatred_, who can help noticing the fulsome
attempts of these persons to appear greater than they are? while
their wives and daughters, instead of dressing as becomes their
station, and thus rendering themselves respected, figure away in
rainbow-coloured gowns, and bonnets that would better suit a
strolling player, and then falsely think they merit reward! Some
few years ago, about the smartest ladies in the Episcopal
congregation were receiving parochial aid; but upon its being
officially notified that the names of all paupers would be
published, many of these dashing damsels became alarmed, and
resolved rather to depend upon their own unaided exertions than
let the world know how they procured their ribbons and laces.

But there is another class of white persons, who, although not
dependent upon parochial relief, dress and act equally beyond
their sphere in life. In illustration of this—A lady brings to
Antigua an English servant-girl, and before her mistress can
collect her scattered thoughts, after all the rolling and
bounding, pitching and jumping of the vessel in which she took
passage from Old England, the _femme de chambre_ is turned into
the fine lady; and ere, perhaps, six moons have waned, is united
in the holy bands of wedlock with a _ci-devant_ Irish soldier,
who plays the part of a policeman; a lately-imported English
ploughman; or, in lack of these, some red-faced overseer, who may
stand in want of that somewhat necessary appendage—a wife.
Servitude at an end, our fair lady makes a display of her
dignity, and all the cast-off graces of her former mistress—wears
very fashionable blonde caps, and long-skirted gowns—patronizes
hysterics and _eau de Cologne_—and laves her previously
hard-worked fingers with Rowland’s Kalydor. Equipped in all her
finery, she next makes her appearance at church, and when the
service is over, bows and courtesies with self-approved grace to
any other _white lady;_ and then takes promenades with her
fiery-faced husband, while visions of future grandeur and
_invites_ to Government House float through her brain.

If “her lord” should be an overseer, the estate upon which he is
employed generally furnishes him with servants; but if instead,
he is an ex-son of Mars, or some similar grade, our _lady_
employs a black servant-girl of about eight years of age, to
conduct her domestic affairs; while her husband obtains another
specimen of juvenility, (but of course of an opposite sex,) to
play the part of groom to the Canadian pony he has lately
purchased for about four pounds sterling.

Although not _quite_ so thick

    “As autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
    In Vallambrosa,”

still ladies and gentlemen of the grade above described are no
_raræ aves_ in Antigua; in all parts of the island they more or
less abound, while in affectation and outward adornment they are
not to be equalled among the _pure in blood_.


[58] In former years there was a subscription assembly held at
“Smith’s Tavern,” then a noted house of entertainment, where
cards and dancing were resorted to until twelve o’clock, when
supper was introduced, and the festive party broke up about two
in the morning.

[59] The first Antiguan theatre was established by a party of
amateurs, and opened on 17th Jan. 1788, with Otway’s play of
“Venice Preserved.” The orchestra was composed of the band of the
69th regiment, (then stationed upon the island,) conducted by Mr.
Green, the late organist of St John’s. The prices of admission
were, two dollars to the boxes, and one and a half dollar to the
pit; the funds being appropriated to the erection of a Free
Mason’s Lodge (never finished), the remains of which are to be
seen at this day, at the east of the town.

                           CHAPTER L.

  Zoology—Rabbits—Rats—Horned cattle—Horses—Mules—Asses—Sheep—
  Goats—Domestic animals—Whales—Thrasher—Grampus—Porpoise—Shark—
  Anecdote of the Young Creole—Death of the sailor-boy—Remora—
  Pilot fish—Dolphins—Jew fish—Stingray—Corramou—Beautiful
  colours displayed in fish—Parrot fish.

In an island like Antigua, destitute of every wild animal of
larger growth than a rabbit or a rat, it may be deemed risible to
talk about its _zoology;_ but as that word embraces a description
of all living creatures, I intend to include under it the several
doctrines of ichthyology, entomology, and ornithology.

Having mentioned rabbit and rats, I will reverse the general
order pursued in writing upon subjects of natural history, and
commence with a slight mention of those animals. The wild rabbit
more particularly abounds in Long Island, a pretty and delightful
spot, already mentioned as belonging to the Hon. Bertie E.
Jarvis. Although rabbits sometimes form a dish at genteel tables,
they are not generally esteemed in Antigua as an article of food.
Many of the Creole negroes express the greatest antipathy to
them, on account of their similitude to a cat; and to offer to
them such a repast would, no doubt, be deemed an insult. I
remember upon one occasion, hearing a woman inquire of a black
carpenter, who was employed about our premises, if he would
purchase from her a rabbit which she had in a basket. “Rabbit?”
interrogated the artisan, his face wearing a most sardonic grin,
“I should _jist_ like to no war you take me for, ma’am? You tink
me go buy _rabbit?_ No, ma’am, me no cum to dat yet; for me
always did say, an me always will say, dat dem who eat rabbit,
eat _pussy,_[60] and dem eat pussy, eat rabbit. Get out wid you
and your rabbit!”

The rats are a numerous race in Antigua, and feed most lusciously
upon the sugar-cane, to the grief and loss of the planter. The
present race are said to have been introduced into the West
Indies by Sir Charles Price, in hopes of exterminating the Creole
rat. The emigrants’ tribe fulfilled their duty with great
fidelity in this respect, and waged a vigorous war with their
brothers of the _furry coat;_ but while thus employed, they
multiplied so fast themselves, that they overran the whole
island, and proved a more troublesome and dangerous foe to the
planters, than their predecessors. These quadrupeds are so fat
and sleek, from feeding upon the juice of the sugar-cane, that
some of the country negroes find them an object of value, and
with addition of pepper and similar spiceries, prepare from them
a delicate _fricassé,_ not to be surpassed by a dish of French

The horned cattle of Antigua, as well as beasts of burden, and
domestic animals, are all of Lilliputian dimensions. Agricultural
labour is generally carried on by help of oxen, and upon this
account, each plantation is provided with a large herd of these
animals, whose patient drudgery often calls for an expression of
sympathy. The horses bred upon the island are, in most instances,
but a very sorry race; still there are some handsome Creole
ponies to be met with, whose slender limbs and bright wild eye
give them the appearance of “sons of the desert.” The donkeys and
mules are of diminutive sizes, but retain their asinary qualities
in as great a degree as their patient brethren in the other parts
of the world.

Sheep, like “Miss Cowslip,” are as tall and slender as a poplar.
Their wool falls off as they gain maturity, and is succeeded by
short stiff hairs, like a goat. Many of them are so spotted and
marked, that they might be taken for spaniel dogs, were it not
for their length of legs, and _sheepish_ visage. The sheep,
however, at Long Island, are very deservedly admired. Their backs
are of a deep warm brown colour, and the underneath part of the
body, with the breast, feet, legs, and head, of a glossy coal
black. Their eyes are also black, and very piercing, very much
like the eyes of the stag; and as they raise their long necks,
throw back their well-formed heads, and gaze earnestly at the
stranger who intrudes upon their haunts, they display a higher
degree of animation in their features than any of their species I
ever saw.

Goats are also a numerous race in Antigua, almost every negro
possessing one or more of these sure-footed creatures: their
milk, as well as that of the sheep, is generally used for
domestic purposes. Cats and dogs also degenerate greatly in size,
and present as attenuated an appearance as if they had been
keeping strict fasts and vigils for a month; the young puppies
are sold for two shillings currency, and the cats are sometimes
bartered between the negroes for a chicken: this last-named
animal often forms an article of food to negro watchmen, who rear
them especially for that purpose.

The lordly whale at times frequents the West Indian seas. These
huge marine animals generally quit their hyperborean homes in the
summer months, to take a trip along the eastern shores of North
America, and passing through the West Indian Archipelago, return
to their icy regions, where they enjoy, with redoubled pleasure,
their unwieldy gambols amid the stupendous icebergs. In their
passage between the several islands they often meet with various
trials; at times they quit their right course, and flounder about
in shallow water, until at length they are perhaps cast ashore,
where they suffer an untimely and lingering death. One met this
fate at Antigua a few years ago. It was driven upon an
unfrequented part of the coast, where it must have remained for a
long time, until at length the effluvia became so offensive that
it attracted the attention of some negroes, who, going in search
of the cause which so tainted the air, discovered the defunct
whale. It was a very large one, measuring from sixty to seventy
feet in length, and of about thirty feet in circumference; many
of its bones were preserved by the curious as commemorative of
the event.

But the greatest enemy the whale meets with in the tropic seas is
the thrasher, (a species of squalus;) a fish so called from the
manner in which it attacks its prey. As soon as the thrasher
perceives the whale, he swims rapidly up to it, in a kind of
orbit, until at length, when it approaches near enough, it
compresses its tail, and by a great effort, throws itself out of
the water and falls heavily upon the body of its unoffending
victim. This exploit the thrasher performs again and again, until
at length the whale (which very seldom escapes by speed) spouts
up volumes of blood and water, and with one dreadful convulsion
sighs out its last breath, and its immense carcase floats upon
the ocean until some playful wave flings it upon the shore of
some neighbouring island. In one of my trips from Antigua to
Barbados I witnessed one of these conflicts, and although at a
considerable distance from the place of battle, the blows sounded
audibly in our ears.[61]

Among the other _Cetaceæ_ which sometimes frequent the waters of
the blue Caribbean, are the grampus and porpoise.[62] I have
heard some master of the small trading vessels express great
apprehension of grampus, who, they say, will at times approach so
near a craft as to endanger its safety; but during my sojourn in
these islands, however, I never heard of such a casualty taking
place. A few years ago, an immense shoal of grampus were driven
ashore at Antigua during a season of stormy weather, and by the
oil they yielded, became a valuable prize.

But the greatest dread of the mariners in these seas is the shark
—that rapacious and terrific monster whose very name conjures up
a train of horrors. The usual length of the white shark is from
25 to 30 feet; the body oblong, and tapering to the tail, which
is of a semiannular form, and of great strength; the head is
rather flat upon the top; and the jaws, of horrific dimensions,
are armed with numerous rows of flat, jagged, triangular teeth,
(which it has the power of erecting at pleasure,) down to the
very gullet.[63]

The eyes of the shark are large and prominent; and they appear to
watch their hoped-for prey with the malign glance of an ogre;
while their vision is so acute, that they can distinguish objects
at an immense distance, and will brave any danger to procure
booty with which to fill their ravenous maw. A circumstance
occurred some years ago which evidently proves that the optics of
a shark are anything but defective.

A young Creole one day escaped from the vigilance of her nurse,
and, attracted by the numerous wild flowerets and gaudy
butterflies she met with, rambled on, reckless of danger, until
at length she approached the sea-side. Here she watched for
awhile the waves as they dashed their snowy foam over the pointed
rocks which lined that part of the beach, until, impelled by the
beauty of the scene, and the heat of the weather, she threw off
her simple tropic dress and wended her way into the smiling
waters. Although not more than six years old, from being
accustomed to bathing, she had learnt to swim with agility; and
gaily did she sport with the bounding billows, until her
attention was arrested by a violent rushing of the waters, when,
upon looking behind her, she saw, fast approaching, what instinct
immediately told her must be a shark. It was but the thought of a
moment to make for the land, upon whose confines she fortunately
was; and urged on by fear, she gained the pointed rocks, followed
by the rapacious monster. Springing from one to the other of
these natural coast-guards, she at length reached the land in
safety; while the greedy shark, fearful of losing its prey, and
regardless of hazard, dashed after, until it became entangled in
the intricacies of the beach, where it floundered about, unable
to extricate itself, until a party of negroes (who had been
working near the spot, and whose attention had been attracted by
the cries of the child) came to the scene of action, and with
ready good will despatched the encaged monster.

The shark is viviparous, and sometimes five hundred young ones,
of about a foot in length, have been found in the stomach of the
mother. The mouth is placed so far beneath the snout, that the
shark is obliged to turn upon its back to seize its prey. The
fins are large and strong, which enables it to dart quickly
through the water, while the huge dorsal one may often be seen
above the surface of the sea for a long time together, marking
the spot where the dreadful creature lurks beneath. The bays and
harbours of Antigua abound with this voracious marine animal, and
woe betide the unfortunate swimmer who approaches its lair.

On board the ship which first conveyed me to Antigua, was a
remarkably fine and intelligent lad, “the only son of his mother,
and she was a widow.” He had been placed under the care of the
captain of the ship, in order to gain some knowledge of the sea
before sailing with his uncle, the master of a South Sea whaler.
Robert had never quitted his fond parent before, and anxiously
did he look forward to the end of his voyage, hoping that a
letter from his mother would be awaiting his arrival at
Antigua.[64] At length we gained our wished-for haven, and the
passengers quitted the ship to seek their several places of
destination. The packet had arrived, but there was no letter for
poor Robert, who, with a disappointed heart, was obliged to wait
the arrival of another mail. In the meantime, according to the
rules of the merchant’s service, he was employed along with the
other lads in many little duties aboard the ship, until one fatal
Saturday, as he was drawing a bucket of sea-water from over the
ship’s side, he overbalanced himself, and fell into the depths
beneath. The steward, who was passing, raised an alarm; a boat
was lowered, but without success, for he never rose to the
surface. At length drags were procured, and (after an ineffectual
search of some hours) his body was discovered, but the merciless
sharks had made it their prey; the head, legs, and arms were
gone, and his mutilated trunk alone reposes in the churchyard at
St. John’s. It was an untimely and dreadful death, so far from
the land that gave him birth; and the circumstance was rendered
more affecting, by the arrival of the packet the next day,
bringing a letter for him from his mother, expressing her hope of
her darling boy’s quick return.

It is a general custom in St. John’s when a horse dies to have it
towed over the bar,[65] in order that it may be cast away in deep
water. These defunct animals are very often made a bait for
shark-fishing; but at times the sharks are so large and so
greedy, that these would-be fishers are obliged to let go their
bait in order to prevent their boat being overturned, and they
themselves become the prey of the monsters. Young sharks are
often exposed in the Antiguan markets for sale; and their flesh,
stewed down with rice or “sweet potatoes,” forms, among the
negroes, a savoury supper.[66]

The common attendants upon the shark are the _remora_, or
sucking-fish, and the pilot-fish, the former deriving its name
from the firm manner in which it can adhere to any foreign
substance. This adhesion is performed by means of a piece of hard
thick skin, of an oval form, about five inches long and two
broad, and which is attached to the head of the fish. This
curious appendage is indented like the roof of a cat’s mouth, and
can be drawn up or expanded at pleasure. By these means the
remora fixes itself so firmly to the back of the shark that no
effort of that animal can dislodge it. Some naturalists are of
opinion that the sucking-fish is the friend of the shark in
directing its course and warning it of approaching danger, in the
same way as the hermit-crab acts towards the pinna-marina. Others
think this is a fable, and that, instead of befriending, it in
time becomes the destroyer of the shark by draining its body of
all moisture. I have heard seamen assert, who are often better
observers of nature than is generally supposed, that if by
accident a sucking-fish becomes separated from the shark, it is
unable to provide for itself, and has not even the sense to swim
from approaching danger. A remora was caught by the crew of a
small vessel on board of which I was passenger. It was placed
upon the deck for a few moments in order that I might be better
able to inspect it, but when about to be removed, it was found to
have adhered so firmly to the planks, that no effort, save the
cruel one of cutting off the part, could disengage it. It belongs
to the ray kind, and measures generally from two to five feet in
length; but one was captured off Guadaloupe, which had attained
the unusual length of thirteen feet from head to tail. Many
strange tales have been related of the remora being able to stop
a ship when in full sail, as well as performing other prodigies
of valour; but in this age of wisdom all such statements are
deservedly regarded as fables.

The pilot-fish, the other attendant upon the shark, is a very
beautiful fish, of a tapering form; it is represented as
encompassed “with chains of pearls, corals, emeralds, and other
precious stones;” and really, from the brilliancy of its scales,
such an idea might be entertained. It was formerly supposed to
precede the shark in order to point out its way, and for this
cause it obtained its name of “pilot-fish.” This supposition is,
however, exploded by later observations, which point out that it
attends the shark at a respectable distance, in hopes of
participating in its prey.

The dolphin, or _delphinus,_ is the next most remarkable and
beautiful fish which frequents the Caribbean. Painters and
sculptors have represented it of a semiannular shape; but the
true figure of the fish is straight and tapering, with the back
very slightly curved. The snout is long and narrow, and armed
with numerous sharp-pointed teeth; the French give it the name of
_Porc de mer;_ it has also been called the “prismatic fish,” from
the assertion, that when in the agonies of death it presents the
seven primary colours. Much has been said about the dying
beauties of the dolphin; but how far more beautiful it looks
sporting in its parent element with all the brightness of the
emerald, and enjoying the life that has been given it! The flesh
is firm, and of a very good flavour, although it is a rapacious
fish, waging incessant war upon the poor little flying-fish, and
devouring them with the greatest avidity.

The largest among the fish esteemed in Antigua as articles of
food is the “Jew-fish,” which commonly weighs from three hundred
to four hundred pounds. The flesh is reckoned one of the greatest
luxuries the West Indian seas afford. It is, however, but seldom
caught—probably one reason for its being in such repute—its
visits, like angels’, being “few and far between.” A
superstitious notion is attached to this fish—that its appearance
bespeaks the death of some magnate of the Island; and
accordingly, when tidings are brought that such fish is captured,
all the old women lay their heads together to plan out who is to
die. The king-fish, grouper, barracoota, cavallie, are equally
esteemed for their gastronomic qualities; there are seasons,
however, when the flesh of the barracoota is poisonous—a
circumstance attributed by some persons to their feeding on
copper banks.[67] The other poisonous fish found near Antigua are
principally the “horse-eyed cavallie,” the yellow-billed sprat,
and the conger eel: the flesh of the yellow-billed sprat has
often proved fatal to those who have eaten it, and it has been
known for death to take place six hours after tasting it. The
poison is said by some to be contained in the head.

The stingray is another native of these seas, the meat of which
is much esteemed by the Creoles. This fish is armed with a long,
slender tail, in the middle of which is a sharp barb; with this
instrument the stingray beats the water, or anything that
approaches it, rapidly, when attacked. The negro fishermen
allege, that the stroke from the stingray’s tail products
leprosy, for which cause they are very careful in approaching it;
and a circumstance has been related of a person having been
thrown into a frenzy for forty-eight hours after being struck by
this formidable weapon.

The _corramou_ is the salmon of the Antiguan fisheries, as far as
regards superiority of flavour. It is caught in the fresh-water
stream which runs throughout the Island, but is rather scarce; it
is the most delicate of the West Indian fish, and ought to be
cooked as soon as taken from its parent stream. Snappers, hinds,
silks, mullets, doctors, angels, old wives, nurses, Spanish
mackerel, &c., are among the other kinds of fish exposed for sale
in the Antiguan markets, some of which are noted for their
excellent taste, the others for their brilliancy of hue; indeed,
the most diversified colours, as yellow, purple, pink, orange,
green, and blue, chequered with gold and silver, and the whole
happily blended together, are to be observed in almost every
species. The parrot fish is the most beautiful of its tribe. Its
scales are of the deepest emerald, and its eyes, composed of
different coloured circles, are as clear as crystal. It feeds
upon shell-fish, which it crushes between its bony jaws, nature
having armed it with such instruments in place of teeth. The
negroes always call it “blue parrat;” its flesh is much esteemed
by them, but the flavour is so rank, that it is never admitted at
any respectable table. It sometimes attains the weight of from
sixteen to twenty pounds. There are a great number of other
edible fish which might be deservedly mentioned, but the pages of
this work have so multiplied, that I must pass them over without
further mention.


[60] The negroes term all cats, but more particularly kittens,

[61] The whale belongs to the class _mammalia;_ order, _cete_.
The food of the whale is lump fish, and small marine insects.
Whalebone is procured from the lamina in the upper jaw, (commonly
called whiskers,) which supplies the want of teeth. It is split
and prepared for use in England.

[62] The grampus generally measures from 15 to 25 feet, and is of
great circumference. It is a very voracious fish, feeding upon
its neighbour the porpoise, when able. It also attacks the whale,
and sometimes makes that huge animal cry out with pain. Pliny,
the great Roman naturalist, who perished in that awful eruption
of Mount Vesuvius, in A.D. 79, which also destroyed the cities of
Herculaneum and Pompeii, when speaking of the grampus, says, “it
is an immense heap of flesh, armed with dreadful teeth.”

The porpoise measures from six to nine feet in length, and may be
found in all parts of the ocean, and even in the mouths of large
rivers. It keeps in large shoals, and if one of the company
receives a wound from the harpoon, the rest fall upon him and
devour him. Formerly, it was esteemed a fish of such rarity, as
to be introduced as royal fare; but in this degenerate age, its
savoury qualities are generally over-looked, unless by sailors,
who sometimes make a portion of it into a sea-pie.

[63] Some naturalists are of opinion that a fresh row of teeth is
added every year. I have counted five rows in a shark’s mouth.

[64] We went by way of America, and consequently our time from
England was long.

[65] A shoal running across the harbour of St John’s from north
to south.

[66] Shark, in ichthyology, a species of squalus.

[67] Labat thinks the reason some of the West Indian fish are
poisonous is on account of their feeding upon the “galley-fish,”
a genus of the Zoophyte tribe.

                          CHAPTER LI.

  Zoology: Orb-fish—Echinus, known to the ancients—Hippocampus—
  Trumpet-fish—Toad-fish—Sea-blubber, and galley-fish—Sea-polypus
  —Cat-fish—Crabs, oysters, &c.—Turtle—Land-crab—Soldier-crab—
  Cockroach—Caterpillars and butterflies—Ants—Bats—Aquatic birds—
  Land birds—Humming bird—Anecdote.

Among the _curiosities_ found about the shores of Antigua, are,
first, the orb-fish, sea-porcupine, or _orbus-major,_ as it is
severally called. This fish varies from seven inches, to two feet
in length; it has no scales, but is armed with sharp spines,
measuring from one to three inches in length, which it can erect
at pleasure—the longest of these spines are placed behind the
eyes, the shortest beneath the body. The mouth is shaped like a
frog; the eyes are round and prominent, and behind them rises two
strong, circular-shaped fins, which it uses with great agility
when swimming. The anal and posterior fins are large and curved;
and the tail strong and well adapted for making way through the
waters. In the middle of the stomach is a bladder filled with
air, by the aid of which it can inflate itself at pleasure, until
it presents the figure of a complete sphere. The meat of the
orbus is said to be excellent, with exception of the head, which
is always thrown away; it is dressed in the same manner as
turtle. When alive, it is a dangerous and formidable enemy in its
native element, as it is not blessed with a very amiable temper.
And when stuffed, it is an object of great curiosity, and well
worthy of a place in a museum. The _echinus,_ or sea-urchin, is
another species of the class and order _vermes, mollusca_. It
does not attain the size of the orbus major, being seldom found
more than five inches in length, but it is covered with sharp
prickles, and can equally inflate itself when angry. The flesh is
eaten with oil, vinegar, and pepper; and in flavour resembles the
lobster. This fish was known to the ancients, who esteemed it a
royal fare, when dressed with mead, parsley, turmeric, and mint.

The trumpet-fish, or _fistularia,_ is a genus of the order of
_abdominales_. It measures about 18 inches in length. The snout
is cylindrical, like a trumpet, from whence its name; the jaws
are at some distance from the eyes, which are very bright, and
the body tapering to the tail. Its principal food is small fish
and marine worms.

The hippocampus, or sea-horse, is another surprising little
animal, never exceeding in length nine inches, and about the
thickness of the little finger. The formation of the head is very
much like that of a horse—from whence its familiar name—the snout
is a kind of tube, with a hole at the end, which it can open or
shut at pleasure. The eyes are bright and jut from the head;
behind them are two fins, of the shape and appearance of a
horse’s ears, and above them two orifices for respiration,
through which it can spout up the water in a similar manner to
the whale. Down the back runs a line of short, stiff hairs, like
the mane of a horse, which falls off when the animal is dead; and
the whole body is composed of rings with intermediate prickles.
It belongs to the _cartilaginei_ order. The ancients considered
it extremely venomous, even to the slightest touch, but like many
other assertions, it is ill-founded, for I have handled many of
them and received no hurt. Some of the hippocampus are of a dull
chesnut colour, others of a dark grey; when swimming, they
compress their tails, and raise themselves with an undulating
motion, which gives them the appearance of a miniature horse

The toad-fish is another curious little denizen of the deep, of
the same dusky hue as the toad—from whence its name. When gently
rubbed with the finger, it inflates itself into the form of a
ball; and if pressed while in this state, bursts with a sharp
report. It is eaten by many of the negroes, who are not famed for
the delicacy of their palates, although the flesh is very rank.

The sea-blubber and galley-fish are other varieties of the
_mollusca_ class. They float like a jelly upon the surface of the
sea, near its margin; and are dangerous to fishermen, and those
persons who are in the habit of going into shallow water without
shoes, wounding the feet sorely. If trodden upon, they explode
with a loud noise, like an inflated bladder. These sea-nettles,
(so called from the stinging pain they occasion if touched,) like
the rest of their tribe, feed upon minute shell-fish and
sea-insects. They are viviparous.

The sea-polypus also inhabit these seas. These wondrous phenomena
of nature belong to the genus _hydra,_ class _vermes,_ order
_zoophyte;_ the distinguishing character of which is, that if any
part of the body be severed, it instantly becomes a perfect
animal. For example, if a polypus be cut transversely into two or
three pieces, each portion becomes a regular animal, and a new
polypus will also be produced from the skin of the old one. If
any of the young polypi be mutilated while growing upon the body
of the parent, the parts cut off will immediately grow again; and
even if the polypus be dispossessed of its extremities, it will
produce young ones before it has attained head or tail. The
sea-anemone is very beautiful when alive. It is of a most lovely
purple, and throws out its numerous feelers like radii from the
centre; these feelers it can contract or expand at pleasure. They
feed, like the rest of their species, upon small marine worms,
insects, and shell-fish, which they have the power of rendering
motionless, (after being entrapped in their long fibrous arms,)
by means of a gluey liquid which oozes out of their bodies.

The _chætodon,_ or cat-fish, is another inhabitant of the
Caribbean. It is one of the most voracious of its tribe, preying
indiscriminately upon all who approach it, and who it is enabled,
by stratagem or open warfare, to overcome. The body is oblong,
the head small, and the teeth slender, but extremely sharp, and
bending inwards. The fins of the back are scaly, and the
gill-membrane six-rayed.

Among the shell-fish are lobsters, (some of which attain to an
immense size,) several kinds of crabs,[68] oysters, (which
generally adhere to the mangrove trees,) conchs, whelks, cockles,
star-fish, sea-eggs, and smaller multivalves and bivalves. This
part of the ocean is also very prolific in marine plants, (some
of which, as “sea-feathers,” “sea-fans,” &c., are very
beautiful,) and corals of several shapes and kinds; the latter
substance is principally used for burning lime. The brain-stone
is also frequently found, as well as many other curiosities,
which are purchased from the negro divers and sent to England, as
presents, but which I must pass over with this brief notice.

The _testudo Mydas,_ or sea-turtle, frequent the bays of Antigua.
The female is so very prolific, that she sometimes lays 1000
eggs, which are hatched by the sun, in about 25 days. The merits
of this amphibious animal are too well known to descant upon. The
shell[69] is very hard and strong, and it will carry as much as
700 or 800 lbs. upon its back. One was captured in these seas, a
few years ago which measured six feet across the back, and the
shell formed a good boat for a boy to sail about the harbour in.
In Cuba, they attain a great size, and have been known to walk
off with five or six men standing upon them. A full-grown turtle
has often attained the weight of 500 lbs. There are none of this
race of giants at Antigua; those caught upon her shores are of
smaller dimensions, although of rich flavour.

The _cancer ruricola,_ or land-crab, is another inhabitant of
Antigua well worthy of note. They live in clefts of rocks, hollow
trees, or deep holes which they dig for themselves in the earth,
and are much esteemed by Creoles for the sweetness of their meat.
Once in the year they march down from their mountain dwellings to
the sea-shore in immense numbers, for the purpose of casting
their spawn. Before starting upon these expeditions, the whole
body meet in “conclave grave,” when leaders are chosen, the route
agreed upon, and the whole company divided into three battalions.
The strongest males most gallantly take the lead in order to face
any foe, as well as to act as pioneers; they are followed a short
time afterwards by a battalion of females, and the rear is
brought up by a medley group of stragglers of all ages and sex.
They travel by night, and, as far as possible, keep as straight a
line to the sea-side as if they were going by rail-road, only
that they neither cut through hills, nor fill up dingles, but
march over every impediment with the greatest nonchalance. While
upon their travels, they commonly march with their long nippers
held aloft, and which now and then they clatter together, as if
in defiance of any one they may meet; and if assaulted, they will
grasp their assailants so firmly by them, that very frequently
they leave such members behind them. They have something of the
_ogre_ about their disposition, for if one of their companions
meet with an accident which prevents it travelling as fast as the
rest, the others immediately fall upon and devour it, without any
compunctive feelings.

As soon as they reach the sea-side, the females prepare to cast
their spawn upon the surface of the sea, leaving it to chance to
bring it to perfection. The females are very prolific; but it is
supposed two-thirds of their eggs fall a prey to the numerous
shoal of fish, which are apparently hovering about, waiting for
their expected treat. After remaining for some time by the
sea-side, they prepare to return to their mountain homes; but
many of them are fatigued by their long journey, and dig holes
about the adjacent parts of the country, where they remain until
they again become strong and fat. It is during these annual
peregrinations that the negroes employ themselves in
crab-catching; which exploit they perform at night by aid of a
torch, when the crabs come out of their holes to feed. Land-crabs
cast their shells annually, and at such periods remain closely
concealed in their holes, almost without motion and without food,
for about the space of six or eight days, during which time the
new shell hardens. They vary in size and colour, some being of a
deep coal black, others of a light yellow, and some streaked in
red and yellow. Their favourite resorts are the burial-grounds,
upon which account many persons have a great antipathy to them as
an article of food.

The soldier-crab is a curious little animal, totally unprovided
by nature with any shell, so that in order to protect its
delicate body from the attack of its enemies, it is obliged to
look out for the vacated covering of some shell-fish in which to
take up its abode. As the “soldier” increases in bulk, it changes
its habitation, and sometimes, for want of a better dwelling, is
fain to content itself with the cast-off claw of a lobster or a
defunct crab. Although of small size, they are extremely
quarrelsome, and their combats for a favourite shell are very
terrific, and often end fatally to one of the party; upon which
event, the conqueror immediately takes possession of the
fought-for dwelling, and to put an end to the affair, makes his
dinner off the body of his enemy.

Lizards abound in Antigua; from every fence, from every tree—from
the copsewood thicket and the wavy cane-field—you may see their
bright little eyes peeping at you. There are about eighty species
of this tribe found in different parts of the world, included
under the name _lacertæ;_ those commonly found in Antigua are the
_agilis,_ or common tree lizard, the ground lizard, and the
guana, or iguana. The common lizard is of a bright green colour,
with the head and feet of an ashy hue; there are some, however,
of a dirty olive brown, with the feet and tail approaching to
black. Like the chameleon, they have the power of changing their
colour; and when angry, they swell out the skin of the thorax
into a kind of pouch, inflating and contracting it with a
clock-like motion. Their tails, of the extreme length of their
bodies, are verticillated, and armed with sharp scales; their
snouts are long and pointed, and their jaws furnished with
numerous small and sharp teeth. They feed upon insects and young
buds, and are particularly quarrelsome among themselves, often
losing the greater part of their tails in their combats. The
lizard is very susceptible of melody, and will remain couched
upon a tree for a long time together, listening to the soft
strains of a flute or piano, or the sound of the human voice.
They are also capable of being tamed, and will frequent the spot
where they have once been fed with bread crumbs. The lizard is
oviparous, and deposits its eggs (which are white, of the shape
of a hen’s egg, and about the size of a small kidney bean) in
holes in the ground near the roots of trees, or even in the ashes
by the fire-hearth.

The ground-lizard is considerably larger than the tree-lizard. It
is of a greenish brown hue, with a blood-red stripe running
longitudinally down each side. The head, ending in a pointed
snout, is also of the same colour, which gives the animal
altogether a disgusting appearance. The mouth is armed with an
infinite number of sharp, slender teeth, the bite from which is
supposed to be very venomous on account of their often leaving
such weapons in the wound they have inflicted. The negroes have a
superstitious notion, that as soon as this reptile has bitten any
one it immediately makes the best of its way to the sea-side, and
as the only means of preventing any ill-consequences to itself,
bathes in the water, and the wounded person receives the
punishment in the shape of leprosy. If, on the contrary, the
individual bitten can reach the sea and perform the ablution
necessary, before the lizard has time to gain that spot, the
reptile pays the penalty, falling a prey to the effects of its
own venom. The tail of the ground-lizard is of extreme length,
and trails along the ground, giving the creature, when walking, a
kind of snake-like motion; when, however, it is attacked by a
dog, or frightened by the sound of approaching footsteps, it
throws this unwieldy member over its back, and starts away with
the greatest activity. The ground-lizard lives in deep holes,
which it burrows in the ground, (from whence its name;) its food
is the young herbage, fruit, vegetables, or anything of the kind
that falls in its way; it holds its prey firmly with its
fore-feet, while it tears it to pieces with its teeth, and then
swallows it with much apparent _gusto,_ putting out its long
slender red tongue, in the manner of a dog. I have often fed a
ground-lizard with the fruit of the soursop, for the purpose of
watching its movements; and if a piece of its favourite fare was
delayed for a little longer than it deemed necessary, it would
turn up its bright round eyes upon me, as if asking why I balked
its appetite. Ground-lizards are also extremely choleric, and
will fight with their own species for an hour together. The mode
of warfare is to spring forwards, grapple each other with their
fore-paws, throw their long tails around each other’s body, and
in this situation roll over and over in the dust, until one of
them acknowledges itself conquered by striving to retire.

The iguana, or guana, sometimes attains the length of from four
or five feet, measuring from the point of the snout to the
extremity of the tail; its usual size, however, is from three to
four feet. It is of a deep emerald green, with the upper part of
the head, the feet, tail, and legs, of a dull ash colour. Along
the summit of the back and tail runs a deeply serrated membrane,
almost like the fin of some fish; the head is surmounted by a
kind of crown, or crest, from which circumstance it has obtained
the name of “king of the lizards;” and underneath its jaws hangs
a kind of comb, which it can inflate when angry or excited. Like
all the _lacerta_ tribe, its mouth is well furnished with teeth,
with which, when exasperated, it inflicts deep wounds; but, in
general, it is a quiet and inoffensive animal, feeding in its
wild state upon leaves of trees, vegetables, insects, or, when it
can procure them, young birds. It climbs with agility, and will
spring from one branch of a tree to the other, like a squirrel.
The flesh is said to be excellent, rivalling in delicacy that of
a chicken. It is eaten in the French islands as a great luxury;
but from its outward appearance, few strangers would be led to
partake of it, unless deceived by its form of cookery.[70]

The wood-slave is about the same size as the common tree-lizard,
but with a shorter tail. The bite is said to be extremely
venomous, as also the wound inflicted by its sharp claw, which
ends in a kind of nipper, and with which it adheres to the part
with such tenacity, that no power but that of a knife will
extricate it. In colour it approaches a toad; its haunts are amid
old timber or old dwellings, from whence it attains its name of

Scorpions are another formidable foe. They are well equipped for
battle, having eight legs, besides two shorter ones fixed on the
fore-part of the head, and answering for hands, with which they
hold their prey; eight eyes, three upon each side of the head,
and two on the back; two feelers, and a long tail, terminated by
a curved sting, underneath which are two instruments resembling a
comb. The poison is contained in a small reservoir, and is
evacuated through two oblong orifices at the top of the sting, at
the moment of the wound being given. The effects are extremely
painful, producing a burning heat, which, if not alleviated,
produces fever. If encaged, and it can discover no means of
escape, the scorpion stings itself to death, rather than remain
in captivity. The body of the parent scorpion becomes the nest of
the young ones, which remain sticking and feeding upon their
mother until she dies, and all nurture is absorbed, when they
fall off and shift for themselves; fifty of these terrific little
creatures have been counted at one time adhering to the body of
their dead parent.[71]

The _scolopendra,_ or centipede, is another member of the
_aptera_ order, whose bite is equally dreaded with that of the
scorpion. They sometimes attain the length of six inches, and are
as thick as the finger of a man; the common size is, however,
from two to three inches. They lurk in the dark holes and corners
of houses, in the lumber-yards, in the stores, (or warehouses,)
in stone-walls, rotten wood, or indeed, any place where they
think themselves secure from molestation; and from whence they
issue forth and attack whoever falls in their way. They feed upon
insects; and their wars with the cockroaches are most terrible.
Sometimes, however, they fall a victim to their stingless enemy,
who in that case makes a hearty meal upon their remains. The
scolopendra is furnished with numerous feet, from whence it
derives its name of centipede—there being as many of these
members (on each side) as there are joints in their body. The
antennæ are covered with short hairs; they wound with two curved
feelers in the head, armed with two short teeth. The bite is very
painful, and produces (like the scorpion’s) severe fever, if some
antidote is not immediately applied. In illustration of this, a
sailor on board a West Indiaman was so severely wounded in the
hand by a centipede, that his life was thought to be in danger;
he was, however, eventually cured, by having roasted onions
applied to the part affected. The workmen employed in pulling
down old buildings, or in removing stacks of lumber, are also
very often dreadfully bitten by these terrible creatures.

The Antiguan snakes are perfectly harmless; some of them are
beautifully streaked and speckled. Spiders are also very numerous
in this part of the world, and call for the constant use of the
housemaid’s broom. The _tarantula,_ or “horse-spider,” is the
most celebrated in Antigua. It is about the size of a pigeon’s
egg; the body and legs are stout, and thickly covered with stout
black hairs, and the feet armed with triple claws, with which
they hold their prey, while they tear it to pieces with their
forceps. Their bite is very sharp, and is also often attended
with fever; but the strange stories which have been related of
the bite of the tarantula throwing its victims into a state of
lethargy, from which the power of music can alone restore them,
has long ago been proved a fable.

The cockroach, or _blatta,_ is a most disgusting insect, although
perfectly harmless, being utterly devoid of any weapon of
warfare. It belongs to the order hemiptera, and is furnished with
four plain wings, which, when walking, it conceals beneath its
outward covering. The common cockroach is of a bright brown
colour, with long antennæ, and wings exceeding the body in
length. They are most destructive creatures, preying
indiscriminately upon the contents of the larder, the
linen-chest, or the book-case, or upon any insect they can
overcome by treachery or open combat, or vary their repasts at
times with a taste of the little negroes’ fingers, when they go
to-bed with such members in a greasy state. Cockroaches cast
their skins once or twice in the year; during those periods they
present a most revolting appearance, being of a milky white
instead of their usual brown hue. In the day, they lurk in holes
and corners, but no sooner does night approach, or the clouds
threaten rain, than they issue forth by legions, crawl over the
floor or furniture, dash in your face, or commence their work of
devastation upon your property, leaving their nauseous odours
behind them upon whatever they may touch. The _drummer_-cockroach
is of a dingy ash colour; it receives its name from the drumming
noise it makes by striking, it is said, its horny head against
any wooden substance it may come near. It is even more disgusting
than the common cockroach, both as regards form and odour; the
antennæ and wings are shorter, and the body of greater breadth,
and differently marked; the feet are furnished with an adhesive
liquid, which stain anything they pass over. The eggs of the
cockroach are about one-third the size of their bodies; they are
rather flat and long, and are covered with a hard shell of a
brown colour. The parent insect attaches them to walls, curtains,
the interior of boxes or drawers, or, indeed, any place which
they deem convenient for the purpose, by means of a kind of
animal gum with which they are provided. The cockroach has many
enemies to contend against, among whom the domestic fowl is,
perhaps, the most formidable, picking them up, impaling them
alive upon their beaks, or swallowing them with a relish which
none but a fowl could conceive. The avidity with which fowls seek
such food gives rise to the negro proverb, “Dat time cockroach
hab dance, he no ax fowl for to come.” They certainly are the
pest of the West Indies; nothing escapes their depredations; and
as the North American Indians have remarked of the deer, “The
more you kill, the more they come.” The redeeming qualities of
cockroaches are said to be, that they improve the flavour of
wine, and make excellent fish-sauce!

There are immense hordes of caterpillars (_erucæ_) in Antigua;
some among them are of great magnitude and beauty, although sad
plunderers of the garden. After grovelling for some time upon the
ground, and then undergoing the transformation of a nympha, they
at length burst from their shelly covering, and, in the plenitude
of life and joy, bound forward in the bright sunshine as so many
gorgeous butterflies. Some of them are beautiful in the extreme,
their velvety coats displaying every tint of the rainbow; but,
alas! like all other beauties, their triumphs are soon over; the
sun rises and sets but seldom for them, and after laying their
300 or 400 eggs, their business in the world is achieved—their
little lives are over, and they again become a “thing of nought.”

Ants also abound, and infest every comer and cupboard in your
dwelling. They have been held up as patterns of industry, and
surely they possess that virtue in an eminent degree, for in vain
does the thrifty housewife use her best endeavours to secure the
contents of her larder from their depredations. They never tire,
but surmount every difficulty, and, like the “Goths” and “Huns”
of old, pour their countless legions over the whole face of the
country. You may, with the greatest caution, suspend your
choicest preserves from the ceiling, thinking that a place of
security, but in a short time it is sure to be discovered by some
roving ant, who, without loss of time, communicates the results
of his foraging to his neighbours. The whole tribe are soon in
motion, the discoverer acts as pioneer, and with great judgment
conducts them over every impediment along the ceiling, down the
string, until at length they gain the sweetmeat, where, _sans
ceremonie,_ they luxuriate at will. At other times, in order to
guard the delicacies from the attacks of the ants, the vessel
which contains it is placed in water, and there all is deemed
quite secure. But not so; the ants are indefatigable; for no
sooner does their sense of smelling tell them some choice dainty
is inclosed therein, than they form a kind of bridge across the
water, by one ant embracing another by the antennæ, and in this
way they transport and enjoy the luxury at pleasure. There are
ants of various sizes, and colours; the large black ant, the
small black, the red ant, the wild ant, &c., but of all these
varieties the sugar-ant is the most disagreeable. It is supposed
the sugar-ant was first brought into the West Indies in a slaver,
from the coast of Guinea, and after destroying vegetation to a
great extent in Dominica, found its way to Antigua, where it
committed great havoc upon the sugar canes. They are of small
size, and of a light-brown colour, tinged with black, and when
crushed, emit a mucilaginous substance of a fœtid smell.

As for flies, it would take an entomologist months to describe
them, so numerous are their varieties; and of insects of a viler
name, not to be mentioned to ears polite, the negroes would no
doubt tell you they are far from being an extinct race. Bats are
among the other denizens of Antigua, whose company is not very
desirable. Some of them attain the size of pigeons; but although
the dreaded “vampire” may be found among the number, we never
hear of any creature falling a prey to its thirst for blood.

The principal aquatic birds are, boobies, or gannets, man-of-war
birds, coots, gorlings, (a kind of heron,) gulls. The other birds
are, chicken-hawks, (or killa-a-killa, as the negroes call them,)
buzzards, turtle-doves, ground-doves, wild pigeons, quails, a
brown bird, with a most melodious note,—“the nightingale of a
tropic noon,” as Coleridge poetically calls it; sparrows,
finches, yellowbreasts, blackbirds, (but not like those sweet
songsters of old England’s woods,) several other birds, with
whose names I am unacquainted, and lastly, the pigmy
humming-bird. Speaking of these beautiful little creatures, a
modern author remarks: “The consummate green of the emerald, the
rich purple of the amethyst, and the vivid flame of the ruby, all
happily blended and enveloped beneath a transparent veil of wavy
gold, are distinguished in every species, but differently
arranged and proportioned in each.” Pretty as this description
is, it is not quite applicable to the humming-birds of Antigua;
for although the “emerald” may be found, as well as the purple
and gold, in some degree, “the vivid flame of the ruby” will be
sought for in vain. Still it is a lovely little creature, with
its long slender bill, its graceful little head, its sparkling
black eye, and its fairy-like flittings among the fragrant
blossoms of its sunny home. It has been asserted that the
humming-bird is one of the shyest among the feathered tribe; but
to express my own opinion, I think it has as good a stock of
assurance as is possible to conceive for such a minute creature;
while its passions are very strong, and it will attack any bird
who comes within its range.

An anecdote was related to me during my stay in this island,
which proves how strong maternal love reigns in the breast of a
humming-bird. In order to increase a cabinet of birds, a negro
was dispatched in quest of these little creatures, with orders to
capture all he could; and in the course of his perambulations, he
alighted upon one which had built her tiny nest of cotton in a
secluded dell, and which, at that moment, was engaged in the
office of incubation. Void of pity, the negro seized upon his
prize, (which, with an expectant mother’s love, would not quit
her eggs,) broke off the stem of the tree to which the nest was
attached, and carried it the distance of ten or twelve miles to
his master’s house, where it remained for four days; and although
under no confinement, the humming-bird would not forsake her
nest, but was conveyed in that situation on board ship, where she
must have died of starvation; for who was to administer to her
the ambrosial dews which formed her food?

There are many other creatures whose lives and habits might be
given; but as I have already extended this part of my subject to
greater lengths than I had intended, I must conclude, or my task
would reach to many more pages.


[68] The _cancer graspus_ is the handsomest of its species, being
of a pale yellow, beautifully streaked and spotted with red, and
deeply serrated claws of a pure white. When in its native element
it spouts out the water from two orifices near its eyes, forming
a beautiful and never-ceasing arch.

[69] It was the shell of a turtle which served that great
monarch, Henry IV. of France, for a cradle.

[70] The guana has the power of fascinating small birds &c. in
the same manner as the anaconda, or rattle-snake, does. When bent
upon such deeds, it stretches itself baskingly in the sun, and
darts out its long red tongue; the birds, attracted by the sight,
hover round, apparently irresistibly approaching the creature’s
mouth, until at length, when drawn within a convenient distance,
the guana makes a sudden start, and with one effort swallows the
poor bird.

[71] Oldmixon, in his history, says, the scorpions in Barbados
are as big as rats. If so, the present race of scorpions must
have degenerated greatly in size, or else the rats are of a
Lilliputian family.

                          CHAPTER LII.


In commencing this chapter upon botany, I deem it proper to
mention first the forest trees, confining myself to those
vegetating in Antigua. As, however, it will be necessary to
insert the botanical names, as well as their classifications, and
wishful of throwing as much interest into the subject as
possible, I have, along with my own observations upon these
beauties of the creation, consulted other and more efficient
botanists. It must be remarked, that nearly all the West Indian
trees continue to bud and blossom throughout the year; so that
there is no naked sprays and branches to be seen, as in old
England’s woods in winter, but instead, every grove presents an
unchanging canopy of the deepest green.

One of the commonest flowers in Antigua is the Four o’clock,
_mirabilis jalapa,_ or _marvel of Peru,_ so called from the
circumstance of its opening its pretty petals at that hour of the
day. The leaves are of dark green, and shaped like a heart; the
flowers are of a tubulous form, and of the several colours of
red, white, or purple—the latter are the most common. The seeds
are black and hard, and of a conical structure; the leaves are of
much repute among the old nurses of Antigua, for their efficacy
in relieving tumours, &c., but if it be only fancy, or if they
really possess some medicinal qualities, I leave the gentlemen of
the lancet to determine.

The Palmetto, _areca oleracea,_ cabbage palm, or mountain
cabbage, is the most beautiful tree in Antigua, and richly
deserves the epithet of king of the West Indian forests. The
trunk rises straight and smooth, and is of a most graceful form,
being about four to seven feet in circumference at the base, and
gradually tapering upwards to the height of from one hundred
feet; it is of a silverish grey colour, and indented with rings,
marking the place of former foot-stalks. The upper part of the
trunk presents a finely turned polished column, of a beautiful
green colour, which diverges gradually from its pedestal until it
attains the centre, when it diminishes in the same manner to the
top, from whence springs an acuminated spatha terminating in a
point. The branches spring from the top of the trunk in an
elegant plume-like manner; as they decay and fall off, they are
succeeded by others bursting from the centre of those that
remain. The young leaves are esteemed delicious when boiled, as
well as the cabbage, which is found in the interior of the green
part of the trunk. The flowers are hermaphrodite; the male calyx
sends forth three petals and nine stamens; the female flower is
like the male, and turns to an oval fruit, enclosing an oval
seed, which will bear a fine polish, and was formerly used for
buttons. A grove of these trees presents a beautiful appearance,
forming indeed a colonnade of finely turned columns, from the top
of which springs a verdant canopy.

Cocoa-nut Tree, _cocos nucifera,_ belongs to the order monœcia
hexandria. Male calyx is trifid, the corolla three-petalled, with
five stamens; the female calyx is quinquefid, the corolla divided
into three segments, and furnished with three stamens. The
cocoa-nut tree is supposed to have been brought from the Maldives
to the West Indies. It loves a sandy soil, and sometimes attains
the height of eighty feet. The trunk is a straight column,
slightly annulated, and tapering from the base to the summit,
where it expands into branches of about fifteen feet long, and in
a circular form, among which break forth the sheaths, which are
open from top to bottom and full of flowers, or clusters of
embryos. The branches are apparently fastened at the top with
stringy threads, interwoven like a piece of coarse sackcloth; the
pinnæ are of a deep glossy green, and, near the trunk, are often
a foot long. The nut is much esteemed for the sweetness of its
kernel, as well as for the milk and oil it produces. When the
kernel first begins to grow, it is in the form of jelly, which
lines the interior of the shell; as it increases in age, this
jelly thickens, and becomes a solid mass of about a quarter of an
inch thick, and of the whiteness of unsullied snow. The jelly
nuts contain the largest supply of milk, or water, as it is
generally termed in Antigua, often as much as a pint, or a pint
and a half; it is most esteemed in this state, the ripe nut being
seldom eaten in its crude form, but generally compounded into
different kinds of sweetmeats, or shipped to England. Thomson,
speaking of the cocoa-nut, observes—

    “Amid those orchards of the sun,
    Give me to drain the cocoa’s milky bowl,
    And from the palm to draw its freshening fruit.”

These nuts are enclosed in a thick husk, composed of strong
fibres, thickly matted together, which, when young, is of a
bright green, but which attains a dull brown as it arrives at
maturity; from these husks an excellent dye can be obtained,
while the dried ones are now manufactured into mattresses,
floor-cloths, and all kinds of brooms and mats. The trunk of the
cocoa-nut tree is capable of being made into cordage, and, if
tapped, a clear liquid issues, to which the name of arrack is
given, which, when fermented, becomes an intoxicating drink. The
shell of the nut is sometimes beautifully carved and polished,
and, when mounted in silver, is used as cups or sugar-basins.
From the kernel a clear white oil is extracted, which burns with
great brilliancy, and emits a pleasant odour.

Whitewood-Tree, _bucida buceras,_ is a beautiful forest-tree, and
one that lives to a great age; there are some still remaining in
the island which are said to be coeval with the first settlers.
It rises to the height of forty or fifty-feet, and is thickly
covered with a light-green foliage, here and there sprinkled with
a leaf of the brightest red. It is said that ships built from its
timber never breeds worms.

Cedars belong to the _juniperus_ tribe. There are two species in
Antigua, the white and the red. The white is a very beautiful
tree, clothed with a dark-green glossy foliage, from whence
spring flowers of a trumpet-like shape, and of the most delicate
pink or pearly white. It forms a very beautiful avenue to a
gentleman’s seat, as well as a road-side border; but the timber
is not of so much value as the red cedar, which is another most
lovely forest-tree, rising sometimes to from sixty to seventy
feet, and of proportionate circumference. The foliage is very
thick, the leaves in form like the English ash; the flowers
(which have not the beauty of its sister tree) are succeeded by
oval berries of a purplish colour. The wood of the cedar is too
well known to need much description. It is of a reddish colour
and of a fragrant smell, and is almost incorruptible, as no worms
will breed in it. It has been related that cedar-wood was found
in the temple of Apollo at Utica, full 2000 years old.

Silk-cotton Tree, _bombax seva,_ or _Ceiba,_ of the polyandria
order, class monodelphia, is one of the most beautiful
forest-trees of the western world, and a great ornament in tropic
scenery. The trunk rises smooth and straight as a column, to the
height of sixty or seventy feet, and of immense circumference. It
is said to have originally been brought from Africa to the West
Indies, where it now flourishes in splendid magnificence. The
leaves are broad, and of a glossy green, the flowers of a
delicate primrose, and campanulated; the corolla is quinquefid,
from whence rises the pointal, which afterwards turns to a pod of
about four or five inches in length, containing the seeds, and a
profusion of bright beautiful silk. From its extreme shortness,
it has been for a long time held as unfit for any use; but within
these last few years, it is discovered it can be manufactured
into hats. The East Indians use it for stuffings to their
ottomans, cushions, and sofas, on which they recline during the
heat of the day; but the West Indians, less effeminate and
luxurious, allow it to float about in its native copses unheeded,
except by the pretty little humming-bird, which sometimes builds
her fairy nest from its silky fabric.

The Manchineal, or _hippomane,_ rises from twelve to thirty feet,
branching into several stems, but the main trunk sometimes
attains three feet in circumference. It is a very beautiful tree,
the bark smooth and of a brownish hue; and the leaves, of about
two or three inches in length, are of the same glossy bright
green as the laurel; they are thick and unctuous, and, when
pressed, yield an oily milk. This tree has male catkins, which
are produced at some distance from the embryos. The female
pointal turns to a globular fleshy fruit, containing a rough
woody nut, inclosing fewer or more flat seeds. This fruit is the
celebrated manchineal apple, which, with the most beautiful
exterior, possesses the most poisonous qualities. So dire is this
plant, that the very sun, darting its rays upon it, calls forth
all its dangerous odours, and renders it unsafe to the touch;
while if any one takes shelter beneath its spreading boughs
during a storm, the rain-drops as they trickle off the leaves
blister any part of the skin they fall upon. Its timber is,
however, made use of by cabinet-makers, although, when felling
it, the wood-men, it is said, are obliged to cover their faces
with thick cloth. The Caribs used to dip their arrows in this
juice, which rendered the wound fatal. Poison extracted from this
tree will preserve its venom for 100 years. The apples, if eaten,
are said to be certain death to everything but goats.

Loblolly-Tree, _varronia-alba,_ (_pisonia subcordata?_) is
another denizen of Antigua, which shews its verdant green canopy
throughout the year. The leaves are broad, glossy, and ovate; the
trunk rises from the bottom in numerous woody stems, which,
though they present a beautiful road-side scenery, are of very
little use, except for fire-wood.

Sandbox-Tree, _hura crepitans,_ rises to the height of from
twenty to thirty feet. The trunk is straight and thick, and is
armed with short prickles; the branches start from the top, and
abound with an acrid juice. The leaves are broad and long, and of
a dullish green. The male flowers are formed like a tapering
column, and close over each other like the scales of fish; the
female flowers consist of a trumpet-like style, with a quinquefid
stigma. The germen becomes a round woody capsule, compressed at
the ends like an orange, divided into twelve cells, each
containing a flat oblong seed. When these capsules are ripe, they
burst with a loud noise, scattering their seeds and severed cells
to a great distance, and occasioning the negro, who may be
passing at the time, to exclaim, “Eh! eh! de jumbies (ghosts) dun
dere dinner hark dere plates; how dey _mash ’em!_” Before these
pods burst, they are sometimes plucked by the Antiguans, and
after being scraped and garnished with gold paper, are made into
sandboxes, (from whence this tree derives its common name,) and
sent to England as presents for the curious. This tree belongs to
the natural order _tricoccæ_, and to the monœcia class of plants.

Logwood, _hæmatoxylon Campechianum_, grows in Antigua, but no use
is made of it in the way of commerce. It rises from the height of
eighteen to thirty feet. The trunk is generally uneven in its
growth, with somewhat of a knotty surface; the branches are
thorny, and thickly covered with lanceolated leaves, and the
flowers, five-petalled, are of a delicate pale purple and yellow.
The pointal afterwards becomes a flat oblong pod, containing a
few kidney-shaped seeds. Altogether it forms a very beautiful
object in woodland scenery. It belongs to the decandria class of

Calabash-tree, _crescentia cujete,_ rises to about the height of
the English apple. The trunk is straight and columnar, branching
off at the head into numerous long slender branches, clothed with
dark green foliage. The flower is insignificant; the pointal
afterwards becomes an oblong or globular fruit, of a fine green
colour, and covered with a rind, which, as it approaches to
maturity, attains the hardness and stability of maple wood. The
interior of the fruit is filled with a white pulpy substance
containing the seeds. This the negroes scrape carefully out, and
after divesting the nut of its outer green covering, dry it in
the sun, and then use them as culinary articles, instead of the
more brittle cups and basins of English ware. Some of these
calabashes, as they are generally termed, will hold from one to
two gallons, while others will not contain more than a gill.

The Pimento, or _Jamaica-pepper,_ is a species of myrtus. It is
one of the most beautiful trees in the western hemisphere, the
trunk rising smooth and shining, and of a silver-grey colour, to
the height of from fifteen to twenty feet, when it branches off
into a rich canopy of dark-green foliage, like the leaves of the
bay-tree. These leaves are very odoriferous; from them may be
expressed oil like that of cloves, and when distilled with rum or
high wines, they rank first among the West Indian simple waters,
known as _bay-rum_. The flowers are white with green stamens, and
emit a pleasing fragrance; while the berries, round, black, and
small, partake of the flavour of all the different spices, from
whence their name, _allspice_. It is said of this tree, as of the
nutmeg in the Moluccas, that the chief means of propagation is by
the birds, who, swallowing the seeds, void them again whole, when
they immediately take root and flourish.

Barbados-Lilac, _melia azedarach,_ is a very beautiful tree,
rising from twelve to twenty feet. The bark is smooth and of an
ash colour; it is bitter and astringent, and when compounded with
aromatics, has been used (in the form of powders or decoctions)
in fevers and chronic rheumatism. Toddy is said to be extracted
from the young trees. The leaves are of a light green, and the
sweet pale umbelliferous flowers hang in graceful tassels from
every branch.

Turpentine Tree, _burseræ gummifera,_ belongs to the order
diœcia, class polygamia; the calyx is triphyllous, the corolla
three-leaved, and the seed-vessel tri-valved. It grows very fast,
and sometimes attains a great height. The trunk is of a bright
brown, sometimes mottled with red, and presents a glossy
appearance; the leaves are broad, and of a deep green. It is so
tenacious of life, that it will bud and blossom after being cut
up and planted as posts.

Nickel, or nickar tree, _guilandina,_ is a curious genus of the
monogynia order, decandria class of plants. There are two
species, the _bonduc,_ or yellow nickar, and the _bonducella,_ or
grey nickar. They are both of them climbing plants, sometimes
attaining the height of fifteen or eighteen feet. The flowers are
quinquefid, the petals of a yellow colour, and growing from the
wings of the stalks. The germen becomes an oblong pod, thickly
covered with slender spines, two-valved, and containing two hard
seeds of the size and shape of a marble; those of the bonduc are
yellow; the bonducella, of a beautiful grey colour, from whence
their respective names.

Locust-Tree, _hymenæa courbaril;_ order monogynia, class
decandria. This tree sometimes rises to the height of sixty or
seventy feet, in a straight column-like trunk, of two or three
feet in circumference, covered with an ash-coloured bark. The
leaves are of a dark-green, and the flowers, divided into five
segments, and of a pale purple, streaked with yellow, come out in
loose spikes at the end of the branches. The germen becomes a
thick fleshy pod, of four or five inches long, covered with a
hard brown shell, and containing a farinaceous substance, in
taste something like gingerbread, but of a most intolerable
odour, but which is eaten heartily by the negroes. In it is
seated two or three hard brown seeds, of about the size of
marbles, but of an oblong shape. The timber is used for making
bedsteads, &c., while from the roots a dark transparent gum may
be procured, which, when dissolved with spirits of wine, forms an
excellent varnish.

The Cashew-nut Tree, or _anacardium,_ belongs to the order
diœcia, class polygamia. The cup of the flower is oblong and
quinquefid. The flower is deciduous, and is formed of a single
leaf, divided into five concave segments, with five lanceolated
petals; at the bottom of the calyx is the ovarie, which turns to
a fruit the size and shape of a bury pear, and of a red or yellow
colour; it abounds in a sweet juice, slightly acrid, but which is
much esteemed by the Antiguans in punch or lemonade; from the
apex of the fruit grows the seed, in shape like a hare’s kidney,
the upper part of the receptacle being the largest. The shell is
thick and cellular, and abounds in a dark caustic oil, which
blisters the parts it is applied to; it is said to be used by
some West Indian ladies to improve their complexion—it must prove
a very painful wash, I should think; far unlike Rowland’s
inimitable Kalydor. When roasted, the kernel is very sweet; they
are often sent to England as presents. It is a common practice in
Antigua, to place the young fruit, when growing, in a
shallow-necked bottle, which is attached to the tree; when the
fruit is full grown, it is severed from the tree, and the bottle
filled with high wines, which keeps it in a state of
preservation. Thus prepared, it is sent to England as a
curiosity, where it raises surprise from the fact of so large a
fruit having entered at so small an aperture as a bottle’s mouth.
The milk which oozes from the tree stains of a deep black, which
no ablution will remove.

Mango-Tree, _mangifera,_ belongs to the polygamia class of
plants. This tree sometimes rises to a great height, and is
covered with a roughish bark. The leaves are often eight or nine
inches long, and about an inch and a half in breadth, and the
flowers start from loose umbels at the end of the branches. The
germen afterwards becomes a large, oblong, fleshy fruit, of a
fine yellow colour, and containing a flat seed covered with a
woolly substance. When good, it has something of the flavour of a
ripe apricot, but the generality of mangos are so strongly
impregnated with turpentine, that it is almost uneatable. When
fermented, an agreeable drink is said to be procured from the
fruit. This tree was introduced into the West Indies from some
part of Africa. In 1798, Admiral Lord Rodney planted it in
Jamaica; he had taken the plants in a French prize from the Isle
of Bourbon.

Banana, _musa sapientum,_ rises to the height of six or ten feet;
the leaves are about eight inches broad, and three feet long, and
of a bright green colour, deeply veined. The wind, as it blows
them backwards and forwards, severs them at these several veins,
so that in a few days, from unfolding, the banana branches hang
in tattered shreds. The fruit is oblong, and about four inches in
length; the outer covering is yellow, and the flavour something
like that of an over-ripe apple. When cut longitudinally, a
representation of the crucifixion of our Saviour is said to be
perceived, but this, I think, is a vagary of the imagination—at
least, I never could find anything of the sort, although I have
cut many bananas.

The Custard Apple, _annona reticulata,_ is a genus of the
polygynia order, class polyandria. This tree rises to about the
height of a common apple. The cup of the flower is three-leaved,
from whence start six petals of the heart-shaped kind, and
antheræ are numerous. The pointal becomes a large roundish fruit,
of a pulpy consistence, and containing a great number of black
seeds; it is not held in much repute, and is scarcely eaten
except by the negroes, although Ligon speaks of it as being very

Star-apple, _chrysophyllum cainito,_ belongs to the monogynia
order, and petandria class of plants. It rises to the height of
thirty-five or forty feet, with a smooth straight trunk, from
which shoot several branches at regular distances. The foliage is
of a deep green on the upper side, with the underneath of a
russet colour. The flower is campaniform, divided into ten
segments, but of no great beauty; from the calyx rises the
pointal, which afterwards becomes the fruit, of a globular shape,
and divided into ten cells, in each of which is a flattish glossy
seed. It derives its name from its internal arrangement, which,
when cut transversely, presents the form of a star.

Papaw, _carica papaya,_ a genus of the decandria order, class
diœcia. The trunk rises in a simple hollow stem, marked in
lozenges, to the height of eighteen or twenty feet; the trees are
male and female; the leaves are large, and divided into several
lobes, and come out upon very long, hollow footstalks, from the
acros or summit of the tree. The male flowers are tubelous, and
divided into five segments; the calyx small, and the filaments
short and long alternately. The colour is a bright primrose, and,
seated as they are upon their pale green flower-stalk, they
present a very beautiful appearance. The female flowers are also
primrose colour, and expand in form of a star, so deeply cut into
six segments, that they appear to consist of so many distinct
leaves. The calyx is quinquedentated; and from the centre rises
the pointal, surmounted by a crest of four leaves. This pointal
afterwards becomes a fleshy fruit, of an oblong or globular form,
covered with a thin rind, and containing, as in a melon, numerous
small black seeds of the pungent flavour of pepper. The fruit,
when good, has the colour, and something of the taste, of an
apricot; when unripe, the internal part is quite white, and in
such state is boiled and dished up in the manner of turnip. It is
also cut into various forms, and, mixed with peppers, cucumbers,
&c., forms the West Indian pickles. The milk which exudes from it
is said to be efficient in making meats tender; and, accordingly,
its good qualities are often put to the test by notable
housewives, who wish to pass off their old fowls, of five or six
generations, for young chickens. From all parts of the tree flows
this acrid milky juice, or _albumen,_ which may be used instead
of egg in clarifying sugar or liquors. It is also said to be a
specific for the toothache.

Soursop, _annona muricata,_ of the polygynia order, polyandria
class. It is a richly foliaged tree, rising to the height of
about twenty feet. The flowers have a grateful but rather heavy
odour. The calyx is three-leaved; the corolla is large, composed
of six petals—the three outer ones concave and coriaceous, and of
a yellow colour; the three inner ones somewhat smaller and
spherical. The flowers are deciduous, and when they open they
make so loud a report as to occasion a start from those who stand
beneath the tree. The fruit is pulpy, and covered with a thick
green rind, of the consistence of leather, studded over with
green prickles, cone-shaped, and attains a great size; the
interior is cellular, and furnished with oblong glossy seeds,
which spring from the spear-shaped core. The juice makes an
excellent transparent jelly; but in its crude form the fruit is
never introduced at genteel tables, although of a very grateful
flavour: all manner of stock are fond of it, and the little
negroes luxuriate most freely upon it when in season.

Mamma Sapota, _achras mammosa,_ is a splendid lofty tree,
belonging to the monogynia order, class pentandria. The pistil of
the flower is rather long, and is surrounded by six stamens. The
fruit is globular, and is covered with a thick brown rind; the
eatable part lies between that and the large round seed, which is
covered with a fine thin skin. It is very indigestible when eaten
in its crude state, but makes a luscious sweetmeat, which is
generally esteemed.

Bread Fruit, _artocarpus,_ belongs to the order monandria, and
the monœcia class of plants. It was brought from Otaheite to
these islands by Captain Bligh, a gentleman well known for his
trials in the “Mutiny of the Bounty.” This tree rises to the
height of about forty feet, and is covered with a thick foliage;
the leaves are sometimes a foot and a half long, of an oblong
shape, and when broken, exude a milky juice. The trunk is of a
pale ash colour, with a smoothish bark; the catkins, or male
flowers, have no calyx, but are formed of valves hanging down in
the form of ropes; the corolla has two petals, and concave; the
female flower has neither corolla nor calyx, but the germs are
numerous, connected into a globe. The fruit is globular, and
about the size of a melon; the rind is thick and green, and is
divided hexagonally in the form of net-work; the internal part is
covered with a substance like thick wool. The edible part of the
fruit lies between the skin and the core; it is perfectly white,
and something like new bread, but it must be roasted before
eaten. The taste is insipid, but is said to afford great
nourishment. The milk which oozes from the trunk, when boiled
with cocoa-nut oil, makes an excellent bird-lime, and the wood is
useful for building.

Sappadilla, _achras sapota,_ of the monogynia order, class
pentandria. The calyx is a perianthum, with six erect concave
leaves; the corolla bears one petal, the full length of the cup;
the germen is globular, and becomes a pulpy fruit of a similar
form, having twelve cells, each containing a glossy oblong black
seed. The fruit is very luscious to the taste, and ranks among
one of the first at an Antiguan table. The tree is about the size
of the oak, and continues to bud and blossom throughout the year:
there are three species of this tree.

Sugar Apple, _annona squamosa,_ another genus of the polygynia
order, polyandria class. The flower is insignificant, and nearly
scentless; the pointal changes to a cone-shaped fruit of a dead
green colour, divided into oblong compartments, each one
cellular, and furnished with a flat glossy seed. The fruit
abounds in saccharine juice, from whence its name. It grows to
the height of about fifteen feet, and is thickly covered with
oblong leaves, the upper part of a dead green, the underneath
approaching to white.

Sea-side Grape, _coccoloba uvifera;_ of the order trigynia, and
octandria class of plants. The calyx is divided into five
segments, of a velvety texture; there is no corolla, but the
berry, containing one seed, is formed from the calyx. It
luxuriates most freely in a sandy soil, where it sometimes
attains the height of from eight to fifteen feet. The trunk, or
rather trunks, for it sends up from the root several stems, is
covered with a smooth brown bark. The leaves are orbicular, and
are from five to six inches in circumference; they are of a
bottle-green, and deeply veined, and stand upon short, thick
foot-stalks. The fruit is of a red colour, but when quite ripe,
approaches to black; it contains one seed, in form, like a
cocoa-nut. There are fourteen species of this shrub, of which the
chigery grape, _coccoloba nivea,_ is another denizen of Antigua.
It is not, however, much esteemed for the flavour. The flowers,
which afterwards turn to the fruit, come out at the wing of the
stalk, in racemi of about the length and appearance of white

The Shaddock, _citrus decumana,_ order polyandria, class
polyadelphia, is a native of China; it was brought first to the
West Indies by Captain Shaddock; hence its name. It is another
species of the tribe _citrus,_ belonging to the same class and
order as its sister shrubs, the lime and orange. The fruit is of
two kinds—the one with a white pulp, the other of a reddish
colour; the latter is the most esteemed. The fruit is of much
larger dimensions than the orange, with a thick rough rind, which
is capable of being manufactured into a very superior kind of
_bitters_. This tree grows to the height of from eight to twelve
feet, with thick broad leaves, slightly serrated.

Lime-tree, _citrus limonum,_ of the polyadelphia order, class
polyandria. The calyx is divided into five segments, the corolla
is quinquefid, and of the most delicate white, and with numerous
antheræ tipped with yellow farina. The scent of the flowers is
most delicious; and their silvery whiteness, contrasted with the
glossy green of the foliage, renders it one of the most beautiful
of shrubs. The lime-tree is said to resemble the holly of England
in appearance; it sometimes attains the height of fifteen feet.
Oldmixon, speaking of this shrub, says—“Fifty years ago, the
planters made hedges of them about their houses; their prickles
served for a fortification against the naked negroes.” The fruit
is very fragrant, of the colour and shape of a lemon, and about
the size of a hen’s egg; the juice is a strong acid. Galisco
mentions that it was the lime-tree and the box which Harpalus
found so much difficulty in cultivating at Babylon.

The Orange, _citrus aurantium,_ is of the same class and order as
the foregoing. The trunk rises smooth and straight, from six to
ten feet in height, when it divides into several branches,
forming a green canopy. The leaves are oval-shaped, and of a
glossy green; and its beautiful and fragrant flowers spring forth
from numerous flower-stalks at the side of the branches. The
fruit, when gathered, is in a green state, which afterwards
attains a yellow colour. An orange-bough just severed from the
tree, bending gracefully from the weight of its fruit, and
shewing its clusters of pearly blossoms, is a very lovely

Avocada Pear, _persea gratissima,_ order trigynia, class
Enneandria, is a lofty tree, crowned with a dense foliage, and
bearing one of the best fruits the island produces. The shape is
that of a quince, covered with a tough, ligneous rind, and
containing one large, compressed globular seed. In flavour, it
somewhat resembles a broiled _vegetable marrow_. It is sometimes
eaten with wine and sugar, but more generally with pepper and

Black Cherry, _cerasus occidentalis,_ is a genus of the natural
order rosaceæ. It rises to about the height of 20 or 30 feet. The
wood is much used by the negroes in their wattled houses, as it
is of a flexible nature. The leaves are obovated, and the
delicate-looking flowers hang from every branch.

The Acacia rises to about twenty feet in branching stems, armed
with long and sharp thorns. The flowers are globular, and of a
bright yellow; they hang from every spray, and load the air with
their fragrant odours. The pointal afterwards becomes a legume,
containing several flat brown seeds, like those of lupins; these
seeds have been found useful in setting dyes, and the gum
produced from the trees is the best that can be used in calico
printing; formerly the flowers were made use of in the materia
medica, but this age of wisdom has expelled those various
conserves which once loaded the shelves of an apothecary’s shop.

Lignum Vitæ, _guaiacum,_ or pack wood, as it is sometimes called,
is another beautiful forest tree of Antigua. It attains the size
of a large oak; the trunk is covered with a hard, brown bark,
although the branches are of a greyish-ash colour. The foliage is
magnificent, and of the sweetest green, while the beauty of the
tree is enhanced by the clusters of cerulean flowers, which hang
in loose umbels from almost every spray.

Perhaps the most beautiful and fragrant flower which grows in
Antigua is the _frangepanier,_ or _plumeria_. It rises to the
height of from ten to fifteen feet, with a rough, greyish trunk,
from whence start numerous fantastic-shaped branches, convolving
and wreathing their long, naked arms on all sides. From the end
of these branches start large, oblong leaves, standing upon
three-inch footstalks, and forming a beautiful cluster. These
leaves are deciduous, and as they fall off, are succeeded by
bunches of flowers, which grow in umbels, rising from one centre
stem, of about three or four inches in length. These flowers are
of the most delicate pink, shaded off to white, and of a velvety
surface, the lower part of the petals being yellow. They are
divided into five or six segments, and the scent of them is so
delicious, that it ravishes the senses while inhaling its odour.
All parts of this tree abounds in a milky, acrid juice, which
drops freely upon breaking off the least part, or making the
slightest incision.

Guava Tree, _psidium pomiferum,_ order monogynia, class
icosandria, rises in the manner of a shrub, to the height of from
two to twelve feet. The leaves are ovate, and of a dusky green;
the flowers consist of five segments, produced in a circular
form, with numerous stamens surrounding an ovary of an oblong
form. This becomes a fleshy fruit, of the shape and colour of a
lemon, surmounted by a crest of small leaves. The interior of the
fruit is of a rose-colour, or a pure white, containing numerous
small, yellow seeds; the flavour is exquisite, and the jelly made
from it surpasses the whole world of confectionary. The
celebrated Sir Hans Sloane is said to have been particularly fond
of it; indeed, it is a universal favourite, and cattle and birds
greedily eat the fruit in its crude form.

Bamboo, _bambusa arundinacea,_ belongs to the order monogynia,
class hexandria. It rises to a great height, sometimes fifty or
sixty feet. The young stalks are almost solid, and are filled
with a sweetish kind of liquid, which, as they progress in age
and become hollow, falls to the bottom of the joint, where it is
stopped by a woody membrane, and concretes into a kind of sugar,
called _tabaxir_. This tabaxir is said to possess strong
medicinal qualities, and was held in such esteem by the ancients,
that it was often sold for its weight in silver. The bamboo is
used in Antigua for spouts, fish-pots, or as posts for fences: it
forms a pretty screen, and as the wind wantons through its
lanceolated leaves, a pleasing melody ensues.

Physic Nut, _jatropha curcas,_ belongs to the same order and
class as the cassada, &c. It grows to the height of ten or twelve
feet, with a knotty stem, and the leaves (cordate and angular)
starting from the ends of the branches. The flowers are green,
and hang in umbels; they are succeeded by nuts, with the outward
covering green, and containing an oblong kernel, separated by two
milk-white leaves, of a perfect shape. This plant is often used
for fences, and according to old Ligon, is “of so poisonous a
nature that no animal will approach it.” This is not correct in
every point, for it produces no ill-consequences, unless taken to
excess, when it acts as a violent cathartic.

The French Physic Nut, _jatropha multifida,_ is another species
of this tribe. It rises in a shrubby manner, from eight to ten
feet in height, the main stem being covered with a silver-grey
bark, and dividing into several branches at the top. The leaves
are large and lobed, and the flowers, of a purple colour, grow
from the extremity of the branches, in groups. They are succeeded
by nuts, of the same size and appearance as those of the
_jatropha curcas_.

Peppers, _capsicums,_ genus of the monogynia order, class
pentandria. There are twenty species of this tribe, the principal
of which known in Antigua is the bonnet or bonny pepper,
_capsicum angulosum,_ of a bright yellow; the goat-pepper, or
_capsicum annuum,_ of an oblong figure, and red colour, not much
esteemed for flavour; the cherry-pepper, or _capsicum
cerasiforme,_ also red, in form like a large Kentish cherry—from
whence its name; and the bird-pepper, the most esteemed of all
capsicums. This last is a most beautiful shrub; the leaves are of
the deepest green, and the fruit, with all the rich glow of the
coral, bursting from their light green cups, cluster upon every
bough. It is from the bird-pepper the best cayenne is produced;
when mixed with the yellow bonny, the colour becomes paler, and
is less esteemed. The London adulterators, in order to keep up
that bright red tinge, are in the habit of colouring their
cayenne with red lead.

The Jasmines are of great beauty and variety in Antigua. The
principal among them are the Arabian jasmine, _jasminum sambac,_
and the Cape jasmine, _jasminum fragrans_. The leaves are large,
and of a beautiful green, while the silvery blossoms, of a
rose-like form, fill the air with their delicious fragrance. This
shrub is a genus of the monogynia order, belonging to the
diandria class of plants.

King of Flowers, _lagerstrœmia indica,_ is a genus of the
monogynia order, belonging to the polyandria class of plants. It
is one of the ornaments of the Antiguan flower-garden—its rosy
corolla peeping from its bright green leaves; still it is not
near so worthy of praise as its fair consort, the lovely

Queen of Flowers, _lagerstrœmia regina,_ which does not throw out
her delicate pink petals until her slight limbs are bent down
beneath her flowing burden.

“Lady of the Night,” _cestrum nocturnum,_ of the monogynia order,
and pentandria class of plants, one of the sweetest and most
poetical of all the Antiguan flowering shrubs. The flowers are of
a delicate white, and elegantly shaped. As the day draws to a
close, they unfold their lovely petals, which emit the most
delicious odour, and that so powerful, that a single flower will
perfume an entire suite of apartments. It is not “_labour lost_”
to sit up until midnight, to watch the unfolding of this darling
child of Flora’s in all her glory; for, in the words of the poet,

    “Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night,
    Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear.”

The Flower Fence, or Barbados pride, _poinciana pulcherrima,_ is
a very beautiful aculeated shrub, of the order monogynia; the
flowers, of a bright red and yellow, are papilionaceous; the
pistilum is long, and the stamens numerous; the seeds are oblong
and glossy, and when beaten up with borax and water are said to
form an excellent cement. There are two species, the red and the
yellow, each equally admired, and which form a most beautiful
garden fence, from whence the name. The leaves of the shrub are
supposed to contain some medicinal qualities, and are
consequently much esteemed by “old women.”

Trumpet Flower, _bignonia unguis,_ is a genus of the angiospermia
order, class didynamia; the calyx is quinquefid, the corolla of
an elegant bell-shape, and is also quinquefoliated. It is one of
the most glowing beauties of the West Indian florist’s world. By
some it is called the scarlet jessamin, from its colour.

The Noyeau-vine, _convolvulus dissectus,_ belongs to the order
monogynia, class pentandria; the flower is campiform, but expands
beneath the influence of the light into the figure of a star. The
petals are of a delicate pearly white, the lower parts of a deep
purple, the leaves of a deep green; and the seeds, black and very
hard, are contained in a three-celled capsule. Noyeau is said to
be extracted from this plant, from whence its name; but setting
aside this doubtful good quality, it is one of the most admired
parasites Antigua produces, and forms a great ornament to a
verandah or balcony.

Among the other beautiful vines to be met with, are the
passiflora tribe; they are—

1st. The Granadilla, _passiflora quadrangularis._

2nd. The Water Lemon, _passiflora maliformis,_ and

3rd. The Conch Nut, _passiflora maliformis._

The granadilla bears a large, oblong fruit, with a thick, fleshy
covering, and containing a most delicious pulpy consistence, of a
slightly-acid flavour, with numerous flat seeds.

The fruit of the water lemon is of a similar flavour, but of
smaller growth, in size and shape more resembling a lemon—from
whence its name—and with a covering more ligneous. The conch nut
is the most acid, and of an inferior quality. It is of a globular
form, with a smooth woody shell. All these varieties form an
elegant arbour, with their glossy green leaves, and their lovely
blossoms, of the same fair form and colour as the passion-flower—
a genus of their own tribe.

Aloe, a genus of the order monogynia, class hexandria: there are
thirteen species of aloes, the most common of which found in
Antigua is the aloe plant, _aloe vulgaris._ The leaves are broad
and thick, and about from two to three feet long; they are full
of strong fibres, which can be manufactured into cordage, &c. The
aloe plant is commonly used for fences, its long sharp-pointed
leaves proving an excellent repellant to any intruder. From the
centre of the plant rises a smooth green stem, or column, of
about twenty or thirty feet high, broad at the base, and tapering
to the top, where it branches out into numerous pedunculuses, or
flower stalks. This plant has no calyx; the corolla is
monopetalous, and of the colour of the brightest gold, which
produces a splendid appearance when in bloom. They are very hardy
plants, and can scarcely be destroyed even if wished.

Spanish Needle, _bindens leucantha;_ of the natural order,
compositiæ oppositifoliæ. The leaves are composed of strong
fibres, which are capable of being manufactured into a ship’s
cable or a skein of lace thread, a sail for a man-of-war or the
finest cambric handkerchiefs.

Cactus, _cacteæ_, is an order of plants that abounds in all parts
of the island. They consist of a calyx adhering to the ovary, the
corolla divided into several segments, and the petals variously
coloured. The fruit is a succulent seedy berry, in some species
of a beautiful red colour. The stems are covered with small
tubercles, containing tufts of sharp spines, varying in size. The
“Turk’s cap,” _melocactus communis,_ is one of the handsomest of
its tribe. It rises in a globular-shaped stem, deeply channelled,
of a green colour, and covered with long spines. The top is
surmounted by a spherical spinal crest, of a beautiful rose
colour, with fleshy seeds of the same glowing tinge. It grows
wild in all the sun-dried plains of Antigua, and forms a singular
contrast to the withered-looking herbage. The prickly pear is
another member of this family; the leaves are thick and oblong,
covered with long spines, and filled with a muculent substance.
The fruit is in form like an English pear, and of a slightly acid
flavour; the rind is thick, and of a red colour, marked near the
base with streaks of yellow; the pulpy interior is of the finest
crimson, and of the consistence of syrup, which is sometimes used
to colour sweetmeats, and affords at times a rich treat to the
little negroes. The fruit starts from the leaves without any
footstalks, and leaf succeeds to leaf, until it attains the
height of from five to six feet. It loves a sandy soil, but on
every bank, or in every pasture, it may be met with; while from
its formidable spines, and thick fleshy leaves, it forms an
excellent fence. There is another species, called the French
prickly pear, the succulent leaf of which is sometimes used as a

The Egg-Plant, _solanum melongena,_ or _ovigerum,_ is a curiosity
in the vegetable kingdom. It attains the height of from two to
three feet, and is covered with downy leaves of an ovate form.
The fruit is of a globose fleshy berry, of the size, shape, and
colour of a hen’s egg, from whence its name.

There are three species of lilies indigenous to the country, the
most common of which is the Lily-asphodel, _amaryllis equestris,_
a genus of the monogynia order, hexandria class of plants. The
flower rises from an oblong emarginated spatha; the corolla
consists of six lance-like petals, of a clear white, with long
slender stamens. The seed-bag, or _capsule,_ is composed of three
valves, and contains numerous seeds.

Cotton Shrub, or _gossypium,_ rises to the height of six or seven
feet. The flower is bell-shaped, and consists of one leaf deeply
cut into several segments, enfolding one another, and of a pale
primrose. From the centre of the flower rises a kind of hollow
cylinder, adorned with chives or filaments. The pointal becomes a
globular fruit, or pod, composed of five cells, containing small,
hard, black seeds, closely enwrapped in the wool, (or cotton, as
it is more generally termed,) which, when ripe, bursts open at
the apex, and discloses the snowy interior.

Castor Plant, or _palma Christi,_ is a very pretty shrub, rising
to the height of about fifteen feet. It expands into numerous
branches, from which spring dark green leaves, deeply lobed, and
standing upon long footstalks. The flowers are insignificant in
appearance; the germen becomes a three-celled, globular pod,
covered with slender spines, and contains three
beautifully-polished, oblong seeds, of a black and silver-grey
colour. The best castor oil is obtained from these seeds, by
pressure; but the common practice in use among the negroes is to
boil them in water, and skim off the unctuous matter as it rises
to the top.

Cassada, or cassava, is made from the roots _jatropha,_ or
_janipha manihot_. This plant belongs to the natural order
_euphorbiaceæ,_ and abounds in a juice, the smallest dose of
which is highly dangerous from its poisonous qualities. It,
however, forms a nutritious food after the juice is well
expressed, when it is baked in the form of thin cakes, and
supplies the want of bread. _Farina_ and tapioca are other
preparations from this root, half a pound of which, per diem, is
said to be sufficient to support the strongest man.

Arrow-root, and _tout-les-mois,_ is the fecula obtained by a
similar process from those several roots, the nutritious
qualities of which are too well known in the sick chamber to call
for further mention. The petals of the arrow-root are of a clear
white, while those of the _tout-les-mois_ are of a fine crimson,
and start from long sheath-like leaves. The French gave the name
to this latter plant, from the fact of its flowering every month.

There are a great variety of grasses to be met with in Antigua,
the principal of which are—the Guinea-grass, cent. per cent.
grass, (_panicum colonum,_) devil-grass, (_cynodon dactylon,_)
and nut-grass, (_cyperus hydra._) The Guinea-grass was introduced
into the West Indies, from the coast of Guinea, as its name
declares. Jamaica was the first island in which it was
propagated, and that by mere accident. The seed of this species
of herbage was brought from Africa, as food for some curious
birds, natives of that clime, which the captain of a slaver
intended to convey to Jamaica as a present. Soon after their
arrival, the birds died, and the seed was thrown away as useless.
It, however, took root, and flourished surprisingly. The cattle
grazing in that part of the island found it out, and eagerly
feasted upon it, which being perceived by the planters, the
remaining roots were protected for seedlings, and thus the growth
of this species was established, and finally distributed
throughout the other islands, where it now ranks among the most
esteemed of grasses.

The different species of grain propagated in Antigua are the
Indian Corn, or Maize, and the Guinea Corn—both of them included
in the botanical name, _Zea_. The Indian corn rises to the height
of about five or six feet; the leaves are eleven or twelve inches
long, and two broad, with the edges deeply serrated. The corn,
when ripe, is of a bright golden colour, and the ear is covered
with a brown silken substance, and then enwrapped in a husk
composed of many leaf-like envelopes, which are dried and used by
the negroes for stuffing their beds.

The Guinea corn attains the height of about seven or eight feet;
the stalk is about the thickness of a small rattan, and is, it is
said, capable of being manufactured into sugar. The main stalk
branches at the top into several pedicles, each of which bears an
ear of corn; the grains are small and round, like shot; they are
inclosed in a black shell, which, as the corn ripens, bursts, and
forms two small leaves. This grain is used chiefly for feeding
horses, &c., although the negroes sometimes manufacture it into
meal, and boil it into a kind of pudding.

Of the esculent roots, the yam, _dioscorea sativa,_ is the most
valuable the island produces. There are several varieties of this
plant, the roots of some of them weighing from 20 to 30lbs. The
flowers are green, and consist of six segments, the male flowers
having six stamens, and the female three styles. The leaves are
broad, and strongly veined, and are seated upon long spreading
vines. The internal colour of the root varies according to the
species—some being quite white, others white and red blended
together, which are called by the negroes _moonshine,_ and some
of a reddish purple.

The Sweet Potatoe, _convolvulus batatas,_ is the most common in
Antigua. It grows upon a twining vine, and vegetates best in a
clayey land. The flower is campiform, and the leaves deeply
lobated. There are several varieties of this root, some of which
attain a great size; it abounds in a saccharine milky juice,
which stains the flesh touched by it.

Eddoes, _arum maximum Ægyptianum,_ are small edible roots,
abounding, in their crude form, in a slimy juice, but when
thoroughly ripe and boiled, attains a dry floury consistence. The
natives consider it as one of their standing vegetables, using it
in soups, &c.; but to an English palate it is generally
distasteful at first trial.

Squashes, _cucurbita melopepo,_ is a pomiferous herb much
esteemed by the Antiguans. The yellow bell-flower is succeeded by
a small, oblong fruit, which, when boiled, is very similar to the
English vegetable marrow.

Soap-berry tree, or _saponaria_. The flowers are white and small,
and are succeeded by acrid berries of the size and colour of
small cherries. They were formerly imported to England, where
they were used for waistcoat buttons. If pounded and thrown into
water, it is said they cause the death of all the fish therein.
These berries answer the purpose of soap in washing linen, (from
whence they attain their name,) and are recommended as a specific
for the disease of yaws in poultry.

There are a great variety of peas in Antigua, but none of them of
the delicate flavour of those usually cultivated in England. The
principal sorts are the pigeon pea, the black-eyed pea, and the
white bean, or Barbados pea. The general use made of these
vegetables is to boil them in soup, which forms a grand dish in
negro cookery; they are used either in their dry or green state.

Ginger is a genus of the monogynia order, class monandria. There
are ten species, each natives of tropical climates; the common
ginger, or _amomum zingiber,_ is the one most known in Antigua.
The flower-stalks rise by the side of the leaves, (which are of a
light green, and very narrow,) directly from the root; they are
scaly, and from every joint issues a single blue flower,
five-leaved, and shaped like the iris. The ovary afterwards
becomes a triangular fruit, the seed being contained in three
cells. The use of the dried root is too well known in England to
descant upon the virtues of it; the green root is preserved in
sugar, and forms a much admired sweetmeat.

Pine apple, _ananas,_ is the queen of Antiguan fruits. There are
two varieties, the “black pine,” and the “white pine;” of these
the first mentioned is the most esteemed. The flavour of the pine
is exquisite, not to be _described,_ but _eaten_ to have its
excellences fully appreciated; it forms, indeed, a perfect
ambrosia not to be surpassed by that of _Mount Olympus._

Water Melon, or _anguria,_ a genus of the diandria order, class
monœcia. The calyx is quinquefid, and the flower quinquepetalous.
The fruit belies not its name, abounding in a sweet water; it is
three-celled, and contains numerous flat seeds; the scent is very
fragrant. There are three kinds of melon in Antigua, all of which
are esteemed for their cooling qualities.

Of the capreolated plants, the gourd (_cucurbita_) is the most
common in the island. The flower consists of one leaf, an
expanded campiform, but so deeply divided that it appears upon
first view to be five distinct segments. The germen becomes an
oblong, bottle-shaped fruit, divided into six cells, containing
flat, oblong seeds. The bitter flavour of the gourd is extreme;
but both the fruit and leaves are said to be of great efficacy in
some diseases of the viscera.

Among the acroydra tribe, the principal found in Antigua is the
Ground Nut, _arachis hypogæa_. It is a genus of the decandria
order, class polyadelphia. The flowers are papilionaceous, and
the leaves of a light green; the nut, which grows from the root,
is not dug until the plant withers. It is roasted before eaten;
the kernel, which is twofold; is very sweet, and forms an
important article of traffic to the petty hucksters.

                         CHAPTER LIII.

  officers—Judicial officers—Ecclesiastical establishments—
  Schools—Fortifications and military defences—Revenue—Exports
  and imports—Population returns.

Antigua is the usual residence of the captain-general and
governor-in-chief of the Leeward Islands; and in his absence, the
oldest member of council, who is styled president, acts as his
deputy. But in case of the death of the governor, or his removal
from the office, according to a recent arrangement, the
lieutenant-governor of St. Kitt’s takes up his residence at
Antigua, and officiates as governor until a fresh appointment is

The colonial government of Antigua is confided to the
governor-in-chief of the Leeward Islands—a council, nominated by
the governor, and confirmed by the crown—and a house of assembly,
consisting of twenty-five members, representing the capital town
of St. John’s, and the twelve divisions, which the six parishes
of the island compose, elected by the freeholders. The council
act in two capacities—the one as the advisers of the governor in
the administration of the executive branch of government; the
other, as an upper house in the legislative assembly.

As the appointed advisers and assistants of the governor, his
“privy council,” as they are termed, when acting in that
capacity, the members of the council enjoy the title of
“honourable;” and their concurrence, or that of three of their
body, is required to most of the acts of the governor in his
executive capacity. Their appointment, sometimes, is immediate
from the crown, though the governor may, in case of a vacancy,
appoint _ad interim,_ until a confirmation, which is seldom
withheld, is obtained. Leave of absence from the colony may be
granted to a member of the council, by the governor, or his
_locum tenens,_ for six months, which may be extended by the
crown to two years; but by a longer absence, a member incurs the
forfeiture of his office. The governor, moreover, has the power
to suspend any member of the council from the exercise of his
office, until such time as the pleasure of the sovereign may be
made known.

In their legislative capacity, the council assume to themselves,
with regard to the members of assembly, as nearly as may be, the
relation of the House of Lords to that of the Commons in England.
Their officers are, a clerk and marshal, the former being the
first colonial secretary, and often assuming the functions of the
usher of the black rod. The senior member presides, under the
title of president. They deliberate in private, excluding
strangers, and enjoy the same freedom of debate as do the house
of assembly, as the English parliament.

The house of assembly, assimilating itself, as it does, as
closely as possible, to the usages of the English House of
Commons, needs no further particular notice.

The governor, however, discharges two important functions, which
are usually exercised by separate individuals. He acts as
chancellor, or rather, as commissioner of the great seal, and, as
such, presides in the court of equity; and up to the present
time, he has also exercised all the functions of an ordinary,
though, we believe, in practice, seldom going beyond granting
licences for marriages, and admitting the probate of wills—acts
for which he is not allowed to grant deputations; but this
interference in matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction may
probably soon be dispensed with.

The chief officers of the island are—

1. The _Governor,_ who receives a salary of 3000l. sterling from
the British government, besides certain fees of office—as, on
administering oaths on admission to certain public offices; on
granting letters of administration, probate of wills, marriage
licences, signature and great seal to writs of execution, letters
of guardianship; on every motion made in the Court of Chancery,
and on various other occasions; but the fees on granting leave of
absence to a member of the council, or commissions to public
offices, are usually the exclusive perquisites of his
excellency’s private secretary.

2. _Public Secretary._—His income, arising from fees, is said to
equal, if not exceed, that of the governor.

3. _Treasurer._—Receives from 800l. to 400l. per annum, and 2½
per cent. on all taxes and other moneys received; and also the
same on all moneys paid away. He is required to give security on
this appointment, from the governor, to the amount of 10,000l.

4. _Master in Chancery._—His income varies with the amount of
business occurring. His fees are, 15s. 2d. for every hour, with
other charges in proportion, when accounts are passing before

5. _The Registrar of Deeds_ was formerly paid in sugar; but now,
for every ninety-six words recorded in his office, he receives
2s., and the same sum for every year in which a search is made
for any particular deed in his records. The returns of this
office, as of the two preceding, being wholly dependent on fees,
it is not easy to estimate their average amount.

6. The _Provost Marshal_ receives a fixed salary of 600l., which
is paid from fees, out of which the gaoler also receives a salary
of 160l. All incidental expenses attendant on these two offices
are also discharged from the same fund; and there is always a
surplus remaining, which is placed at the disposal of the

7. The _Harbour Master_ receives 50l. per annum currency for
boat-hire, and a fee, varying from 4s. 6d. to 22s. 6d., on
certain vessels coming into the harbour, according to tonnage,
from 30 tons to 300, and upwards. This officer seems less
adequately provided for than any other, considering the attention
required, and the responsibility attendant on his office.

8. The _Postmaster,_ who is paid by the home government, receives
80l. sterling per annum.

The judicial officers connected with the colony are numerous,
considered with respect to the population; but as none, with the
exception of the chief judge, receive pecuniary remuneration, and
he only 300l. sterling,[72] and from fees, the appointments,
although high-sounding, are, with this exception, only honorary,
and almost parallel with that of the unpaid, though not less
useful, magistracy of England. The appointments are as follow:—A
chief judge; four assistant justices; a chief baron of the
exchequer; judge of the vice-admiralty court; registrar of the
vice-admiralty court; two masters examiners of chancery;
registrar in chancery; provost marshal, advocate, and
attorney-general; procurator and solicitor-general; three king’s
counsel and a coroner, (the latter receiving 300l. per annum
sterling from the colony.) The office of coroner is filled by Sir
Robert Horsford, the attorney-general. To these must be added two
stipendiary magistrates, appointed under the provisions of the
act for the abolition of slavery, and paid by the home

The ecclesiastical establishment now comprises a bishop,
receiving 2000l.; an archdeacon, receiving 500l. sterling from
the British government; the rector of the parish of St. John,
receiving, with a curate, 330l. from the colony; the rector of
the parish of St. George, who receives a stipend of 230l.
sterling; the rector of the parish of St. Paul’s, who receives
250l. sterling; the rector of the parish of St. Peter’s, who
receives 300l. sterling; and the rector of the parish of St.
Philip’s, who receives a stipend of 275l. sterling.

The stipends are raised by rates on the several parishes; and in
addition to these, the clergy receive the usual surplice fees.

There are several day and night schools belonging to the
Established Church—viz.,

St John’s—one boys’ and one girls’; two infant-schools at the
Rectory; on Manning’s Estate, Cedar Valley, Marble Hill, St.
James’s, St. Luke’s, African Hospital; three evening-schools in
St. John’s, and four Sunday-schools, besides at the various
parishes in the island. The instruction which is generally given
is reading and repeating the scriptures and church catechism, and
also certain lessons and hymns. The number of children instructed
by the clergy may be reckoned at about 2300.

There are twelve churches, including four chapels of ease. One of
these chapels of ease is the private property of the Honourable
and Reverend Nath. Gilbert, the descendant of the founder of
Methodism in this country, which contains 400 sittings.
  St. John’s church contains                               1600
  St. George’s                                              600
  St. Peter’s, (town of Parham,) old church                 300
  St. Philip’s, (near Willoughby Bay)                       433
  St. Paul’s, (Falmouth)                                    400
  St. Mary’s, (Old Road)                                    250
  St. John’s parish has three chapels of ease—one at
     Popehead, called St. James’s                           420
     Bendall’s Bridge, St. Luke’s                           400
     And one in town                                        150
  St. Peter’s, one chapel of ease, (private property
     of Nath. Gilbert)                                      400
  St. Philip’s                                              260
  St. Paul’s, (a temporary chapel at English
     Harbour)                                               350
  St. Mary’s, (in Ffryes Valley)                            250

There is also a temporary chapel at the common gaol, which may be
supposed to contain 150 sittings. The Rev. Robert Holberton
volunteered, in the early part of 1829, to deliver a religious
discourse every Sunday morning, between the hours of seven and
eight o’clock, and has not grown weary in this laudable cause. He
attends the prison at all times when serious consolations are
required, and more particularly those who may have to suffer
death by paying the penalty of the law.

          Account of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials.

                                   Baptisms. Marriages. Burials.

  1836  Parish of St. John's            310        112      150
        St. George's                     74         38       36
        St. Peter's                     116         52       24
        St. Paul's                       74         47       39
        St. Mary's                       60         40       14
        St. Philip's                    122         40       19

        Total                           756        329      282

  1837  Church                          662        246      393
  1838    "                             528        316      313
  1839    "                             723        468      420

  1837  Wesleyan Society                 96          0      112
  1838    "                             108          0      114
  1839    "                              95          0       85

  1837  Moravians                       383          0      318
  1838    "                             249          0      256
  1839    "                             265          0      254

The Wesleyan society has several Sunday-schools, also day
scholars, exclusive of night-schools, which may be reckoned as
follows:—From the “Ladies’ Society,” and the “Wesleyan
Missionary,” conducted by voluntary contributions:—
                                            Scholars.  Teachers.
  Sunday-school                                 1782        155
  Day-school                                     962         19
  The Moravian Mission has                      1115          0
  Besides infant children, whose number may
     be estimated at about                      1800          0
  The members of their church may be
     estimated at about 9000.

Fortifications.—There are seven forts—namely,
  Fort James, which costs the country for captain’s
    salary                                            150l.  0s.
  Fort George                                         112l. 10s.
  Fort Johnson’s Point                                 60l.  0s.
  Fort Byam                                            50l.  0s.
  Old Road                                             59l. 12s.
  Goat Hill Battery                                    60l.  0s.
  Rat Island                                           60l.  0s.

The amount expended for the military defence of this country,
sustained by the colony exclusively, not under the control of the
ordnance department, amounts to near 2500l. sterling; and that
incurred by Great Britain in this time of peace is sometimes over
24,000l. sterling. Some years it may be 1000l. or so under, and
particularly now the island has no militia, as it ceased to exist
in July, 1838, by order of her Majesty in council.

Revenue.—The comparatively yearly revenue may be estimated at
about 19,000l. sterling. The expenditure is generally more, which
is raised by ¼d. assessed upon all lands; 1d. on every 100 lbs.
of sugar; 3d. on every 100 gallons of rum and molasses; a
street-tax, and a per centage upon all dwelling-houses or
merchant-warehouses, according to the exigencies of the case;
also a cistern-tax upon all dwelling-houses of the annual rent of
60l., not having a cistern on or belonging thereto; (while this
is a very necessary precaution in cases of fire, it brings in a
very good revenue;) an import duty imposed by the British
parliament on all American importations, (part of this only is
paid into the island treasury, as a per centage is first detained
by the collector of her Majesty’s customs for defraying the
expenses of officers’ salaries; however, the surplus paid into
the treasury may be computed at 9000l. currency annually, but has
at times amounted to 16,000l.;) also another import duty, levied
by our colonial legislature on all goods imported not coming
under the act of the imperial parliament, but such as upon all
British or other articles of foreign manufacture may not be
considered dutyable, in that case, 2l. 10s. upon every 100l. is
paid; also an annual sum is paid by every retailer of spirituous
liquors, wines, and beer; and a customs duty on wine imported,
(except it be brought from Madeira and the Western Islands.

               Amount of Export in the Year 1770.

                                                      £.  s.  d.
  To Great Britain                              430,210   0   0
  To North America, United States, and the
    West India Islands                           35,806  17   6
                                               £466,016  17   6

              Amount of Export, in the Year 1787.

  To Great Britain, North America, the West
    India Islands, United States, and Foreign
    Ports, consisted of 284,526 casks of
    sugar, 716,545 gallons of rum, 5910
    gallons of molasses, 160,510 pounds of
    cotton, 4l. sterling worth of dyeing
    woods, and 48,000l. worth of other
    miscellaneous articles, which together
    amounted to  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   £592,596   9   0

                    Shipping Inwards, 1831.

                                          No. of         No. of
                                        Vessels.  Tons.     Men
  From Great Britain.                        55  11783      634
  From North America.                        50   4410      256
  From West Indies.                         142   6997      730
  From United States.                        58   6692      375
  From Foreign Ports.                        80   2608      336
  Totals.                                   385 32,490     2331

                    Shipping Outwards, 1831.

                                          No. of         No. of
                                        Vessels.  Tons.     Men
  To Great Britain.                          55  11498      628
  To North America.                          39   3334      197
  To the West Indies.                       191  10482      982
  To the United States.                      31   3686      211
  To Foreign Ports.                          91   3522      399
  Totals.                                   407 32,522     2417

                  Amount of Exports for 1831.

                                                      £.  s.  d.
  To Great Britain                              228,612   0   0
  To North America                               12,803  10   0
  To West Indies                                 37,766  19   6
  To United States                               10,372  18   0
  To Foreign Ports                                7,090  15   0
                                               £296,646   2   6

                    Shipping Inwards, 1840.

                                              Number of
                                               Vessels.    Tons.
  From Great Britain                                 51  11,334
  From North America and the West Indies            254  10,968
  From the United States                             79  11,657
  From Foreign Ports                                158   3,650

  Total Number of Men                                     2,925
  Total Number of Vessels                                   542
  Total Number of Tons                                   37,609

                    Shipping Outwards, 1840.

                                              Number of
                                               Vessels.    Tons.
  To Great Britain                                   56  12,953
  To North America and the West Indies              251  10,297
  To the United States                               26   3,844
  To Foreign Ports                                  142  10,781

  Total Number of Men                                     3,133
  Total Number of Vessels                                   475
  Total Number of Tons                                   37,375

                    Amount of Exports, 1840.

                                                      £.  s.  d.
  To Great Britain                              401,624   4   6
  To North America and the West Indies              328   0   0
                                               £401,952   4   6


        Number of Whites.Number of Coloured. Number of Negroes.
   1673 no account taken.  no account taken.                500
   1690               600                     no account taken.
   1707              2892  no account taken.             12,892
   1720              3672                                19,186
   1724              5200                                19,800
   1729              4088                                22,611
   1734              3772                                24,408
   1756              3412                                31,428
   1774              2590                                37,808
   1787              2590               1230             37,808
   1788 no account taken.  no account taken.             36,000
   1805              3000               1300             36,000
   1810              3000                                37,000
   1817 no account taken.  no account taken.             32,249
   1824                                                  30,314
   1827                                                  29,839
   1831                                                  29,537

                     Census Taken in 1821.

                   Area in Number of Number of     Total Number of Number of     Total
                     miles     White     White number of  Coloured  Coloured number of
                   square.    Males.  Females.   Whites.    Males.  Females. Coloured.
  St. John’s        17,955       644       563      1207      1210      1623      2833
  St. Philip’s      10,881       116        46       162        62        99       161
  St. George’s        6000        56        35        91        24        44        68
  St. Mary’s        14,190        81        43       124        65        94       159
  St. Peter’s         8310       100        37       137        53        65       118
  St. Paul’s        11,941       142       117       259       292       435       727
                    69,277      1139       841      1980      1706      2360      4066
  Number of
  negroes in six

No census has been taken since 1821, but the population now may
be estimated at about the same. The greatest bulk is employed in
agriculture; the manufacture is sugar, rum, and molasses. The
island is supposed to contain 69,299 miles, or 108 square miles,
consequently the average population is estimated to the square
mile in this island to be about 343.


[72] It most be remarked that this salary is not a determined
one. The judge receives it as a boon from the existing
legislature. His successor may, perhaps, only obtain the _honour_
conferred by the appointment.

                     Supplemental Chapter.

Since the foregoing pages have been written, many and great
events have occurred in Antigua. St. John’s, the capital of the
island, has been raised to the dignity of a city, by the mandate
of her most gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, (as announced by
official letter of his excellency the governor-in-chief, Sir
Charles Augustus Fitzroy, K.H., dated 10th November, 1842;) the
church constituted a cathedral church and an episcopal see; and
our former worthy archdeacon has become the Right Rev. the Lord
Bishop of Antigua. The rector of St. John’s, the Rev. R.
Holberton, has most deservedly been appointed archdeacon, (as
well as rector,) in the room of Dr. Davis, the present bishop.
The first ordination held in the island took place on Tuesday,
the 25th July, 1843. The governor-in-chief. Sir Charles Augustus
Fitzroy, has ably conducted the government, and made himself
universally and deservedly beloved and respected for his zeal and
strenuous exertions for the common good. His excellency first met
the council and assembly at the court house, on Thursday, the
21st of February, 1842, where he was received by a guard of
honour, (of part of the 81st regiment, then stationed in
Antigua.) After taking his seat in the council chamber, his
excellency delivered in person a most flattering inaugural speech
to the legislature; addresses were then returned by the council
and assembly, to each of which his excellency made most gracious
answers. Upon the breaking up of the meeting, his excellency
returned to government house, where he held a levee, (which was
numerously attended,) and received congratulatory addresses from
the clergymen of the church of England, the Moravian ministers,
the Wesleyan missionaries, and the members of the Presbyterian

The Scotch kirk has been nearly completed, and opened for divine
service; an able preacher from Scotland, the Rev. A. Brown, is
the officiating minister. Until the opening of the new church,
the court house was kindly lent to the members of this persuasion
to hold their Sunday service in; and where the Rev. Mr. Brown
poured forth a strain of pure, unaffected devotion, and delivered
a series of sermons, whose beauty lay not only in words, but in
the grand religious truths they inculcated.

Agricultural societies have been formed, much to the interest of
that useful class of men, the agriculturists. In these societies,
prizes have been awarded to the following:—

  To manager who makes the largest quantity of sugar per acre, on
  average crop—a silver tea-pot, value 8l.

  To manager who makes best quality of sugar—a silver cup, value

  To manager who makes the largest quantity of sugar per acre,
  from second ratoons, being not less than five acres—a silver
  ladle, value 4l.

  To manager who has been most successful with his stock during
  the year—a silver knife, value 3l.

  To the overseer who shall produce the best plan of a
  plantation, pay, boiling-house, and still-house books—a pair of
  silver spoons, value 2l.

  To labourers who have worked the greatest number of days in the
  year on one property—five prizes, from 10s. to two dollars
  each, currency.

  To those parents who have the largest number of children
  employed in agriculture—five prizes, from 10s. currency, to two
  dollars each.

  To stock-keepers who have remained during the year, and have
  been most successful with the stock—five prizes, from 10s. to
  two dollars.

A popular institution for intellectual improvement has also been
instituted at St. John’s, in which several lectures have been
given upon various interesting subjects.

On the 12th of June, 1842, a very bright and beautiful meteor
passed over the town of St. John’s, in a direction from east to
west. Its form was globular; and as it passed rapidly along the
heavens, it emitted bright spiral flashes of fire, which gilded
the sky, and threw deep shadows upon the earth. During its
progress, it was attended by a rushing noise, sufficient to call
the attention of those who did not even notice its extreme
brilliancy. Possibly this meteor might have belonged to the class
termed _aerolites;_ many of such phenomena have appeared, from
time to time, in this quarter of the globe: one fell at Bahia, in
Brazil, which weighed 14,000 pounds, and another, (still
preserved in the British Museum,) which fell at Buenos Ayres,
weighed 1400 pounds.

The next great event to be recorded, is the awful earthquake,
with which Antigua and many of the other Leeward Islands was
visited, on Wednesday, the 8th of February, 1843. About half-past
ten o’clock a. m., a low, hollow, rumbling sound arrested the
attention, and announced, in its own peculiar solemn tone, the
coming of an earthquake. Immediately after this awful warning, a
tremor of the earth was felt, which gradually increasing in
violence, led the frightened inhabitants to rush from their
houses, and seek safety in the open air. Heart-rending were the
screams, fervent and numerous were the calls for mercy, from the
assembled groups. The air was darkened with the dust from the
falling buildings, as well as from the sulphureous exhalations
which issued from the opening earth, and almost stopped
respiration. In Antigua, the extent of damage was immense. Out of
fourteen parish churches, (including the chapels of ease,) only
two remain uninjured. St. Paul’s, situated at Falmouth, was
entirely destroyed; as also St. Stephen’s chapel of ease, the
district church of All Saints, and the chapel schools of St.
Bartholomew’s and St. Mark’s, not long ago erected. The new
church of St. Peter’s, which has been mentioned in these pages as
being in a state of progress at Parham, and which was expected to
be completed and opened for Divine service in 1843, was also much
rent and injured. The pretty parish church of St. Philip’s was
cracked from top to bottom, and rendered unsafe, and the
school-house was levelled with the ground. St. James’s chapel of
ease was severely injured, and the north and south wings fell.
The school-room at St. Barnaby’s was rent in several places; and
at St. Stephen’s a similar building was entirely levelled. The
school-room at Brecknocks was also rendered unsafe. There were
172 sugar-mills upon the island, most of which upon that eventful
morning had been “put in the wind,” and were merrily going with
the breeze, crushing between their powerful machinery the golden
canes, and sending a rich stream of luscious juice through the
several pipes into the boiling-houses; of these thirty-five were
entirely levelled with the ground, eighty-two split from top to
bottom, and the remaining fifty-five almost all of them injured,
requiring numerous repairs. Among those most seriously injured
may be mentioned—

  “Bellevue, Messrs. Shand’s—down.
  Bath Lodge, property of Walters—down.
  Green Castle’s, Sir Henry Martin’s works and mansion—down.
  Lower Freeman’s—down.
  Sir Geo. Thomas’s works, and part of the mansion—down; the
  manager was obliged to take up his quarters under a shed.
  Little Duers—down.
  Big Duers—down.
  Elliot’s, part of sugar works—down.
  La Roche’s—down.
  Baijer Otto Baijer’s—down.
  Mount Pleasant—down.
  Rock Hill—down.
  George Byam’s—partly down.
  Patterson’s new steam-mill, and works—down.
  Claremont’s, the seat of the Hon. W. E. Williams, untenantable,
  and works of two estates—down.
  Gambles, Admiral Tollemache’s—down.
  The Wood—down.
  Fryar’s Hill—down.
  The newly erected sugar-works of Wm. Williams, Esq.—down.
  &c. &c. &c.”

The city of St. John’s suffered severely, and after the
earthquake, presented a most dismal appearance. About one-third
of the stores and dwellings were levelled with the ground; and
the remainder (with the exception of those buildings erected of
wood) so shattered and torn, that they were rendered
untenantable. Some of the houses were completely twisted round,
presenting an acute angle to the street, instead of their usual
position. The cranes at the water’s edge were many of them lifted
out of the ground; and in several of the stores, streams of water
bubbled up through the interstices of the pavement. The
court-house, police-office, (formerly the old jail,) the arsenal,
the new jail and barracks, the registrar’s office, treasurer’s
office, governor’s secretary’s office, (recently erected,)
colonial bank, Antigua library-rooms, &c., were all of them rent
and torn, and several rendered unsafe. The cathedral of St.
John’s was damaged to a great extent, the tower being rent from
top to bottom, the north dial of the clock precipitated to the
ground, and part of the east wall of the tower thrown upon the
roof of the church. The handsome altar-piece was entirely
destroyed; and many of the monuments which graced the walls of
the cathedral were hurled from their resting-places, and shivered
into atoms. Of these were the tombs of Lord Lavington, Warner,
Kelsick, Ottley, and Atkinson. The font was thrown off its
pedestal, seven of the large pipes in the front of the organ
knocked out, and much damage done to the interior of that
instrument. The whole of the south-east walls of the cathedral
were thrown into the churchyard, carrying with them some of the
ornamental ground-glass windows. The north-west walls fell in one
mass of ruins, while the north-east protruded beyond the
perpendicular. The north and south vestibules were almost blocked
up by the piles of massy stones and bricks. The churchyard also
presented a melancholy appearance, many of the tombs being rent
open, and split in various places.

Before this awful event, it had been the intention of the vestry
to enter into a contract for raising the tower, and improving its
architectural adornments, as also to make some alteration in the

The school-room erected near the rectory of St. John’s was also
very much dilapidated; and the national-school for girls was so
much injured as to require being taken down.

The new Wesleyan Chapel was fearfully rent, and doubts were at
first entertained for the safety of the building; but upon a
mature deliberation, it was determined to repair it without
pulling it down; which has since been done.

The nearly finished Scotch kirk met with a severe injury, its
walls being cracked in several places.

The ministers of the established church in St. John’s performed
service under a large tent, erected to the east of the Daily Meal
Society’s buildings, and also in the Conversion Society’s
school-room, and the African hospital.

The Scotch and Wesleyan ministers were accommodated at the Mico
and Moravian school-room, or beneath a grove of trees, near to
the spot where Governor Parke met his fate; and for one day in
the week, at the Moravian Chapel.

Almost every kitchen and oven in the island was destroyed; and
many of the capacious cisterns ruined. In some of them, the water
was so deeply impregnated with sulphur, or mixed with the fallen
mortar, as to be perfectly unusable.

Oh! awful indeed was this fearful visitation of the Almighty! The
loftiest looks of men were humbled, and the stoutest hearts were
bowed down. Tremendous—terrible was the shock! The earth reeled
as if about to be over-thrown; and scarce could the strongest man
keep his footing. The island shook from its very centre; and in
many parts the ground opened, and emitted columns of noxious
sulphureous water. The sea felt the powerful hand of its Maker,
and rose several feet above its highest mark; while in some parts
it dashed up the streets to the distance of many yards.

The excess of terror occasioned by this awful throe of Nature was
so great, that many individuals threw themselves over the wharfs,
and sought refuge in the treacherous waves. Still their fears
were not allayed; for the sea was so turbulent that they were
under the necessity of again seeking dry land to save themselves
from being engulfed in its yawning abyss. The legislature met at
government-house on the 13th, (the court-house being in an unsafe
condition,) by special command, to take into consideration the
best way of averting, as far as human endeavours could, the
direful results likely to accrue from the late calamity. A grant
of 500l. currency was placed at the disposal of a committee, for
the purpose of supporting the roof and plate of the cathedral,
and rendering it in some measure safe for divine worship. The
vestry met on the 24th March, under the tents, and among other
resolutions agreed to make a record of the event in the church
books. The dock-yard at English Harbour—the pride of the Caribbee
Islands—has suffered greatly; the excellent wharfs racked and
rent; in some places they sank down to the level of the sea, in
others, they were heaved up and down, like the billows of the
great deep; the massy stone and brick buildings erected within
the yard were nearly all of them injured; the officers’ quarters
severely rent; the cordage stores, &c., cracked from top to
bottom; the fine capacious cisterns ruined. The superintendent’s
office, &c., was also much impaired and rent; and the stone
platform which ran along the commissioners’ room moved out of its
place, and the pavement beneath literally wrested up. The
guard-house and midshipmen’s quarters were greatly damaged, and
the stone building near presented an awful appearance, one side
of it having sunk some depth into the ground, while that part of
the wharf contiguous to it was fearfully rent. In the boat-house,
the massy stone circular pillars which supported the shed were
very much cracked, and one of them was separated from its
pedestal and hurled to the ground. The blacksmith’s shop, paint
stores, &c., were left but as “tottering walls,” while the long
line of cliffs and stone walls that topped the hill at the back
of the yard were shivered in all directions. St. Helena was also
much injured, and the embattled walls of Fort Berkley, at the
mouth of the harbour, were overthrown. The superintendent of the
yard, Jos. Hart, Esq., estimated the damage at about £20,000. In
many parts of the yard the ground looked as if ploughed up, while
in others, deep and broad fissures, strongly impregnated with
sulphur, opened their yawning mouths. It was, at first, asserted
that the mouth of the harbour had been obstructed by the fallen
rocks; but upon a careful survey, the water was found to be
deeper, if anything, than before the awful occurrence. At the
Ridge, the terrible effects of the earthquake were also felt. The
stone stores and barracks were either thrown down, or so severely
rent that they were unsafe, and the privates were accommodated
under tents for some time after. The small stone building,
situated at the extreme point of Shirley Heights, (erected for
the accommodation of the signal-man,) fell at the commencement of
the shock, burying beneath its ruins a baby of four months old,
but which was afterwards extricated and restored to its
distressed parents unhurt, with the exception of a trifling
scratch. The town of Falmouth presented but a mass of ruins—its
church was levelled with the ground, and the tombs in the
churchyard rent open, as if the last great day was come. The
fortifications at Monk’s-hill were cracked and rent in many
places; and near to the spot, a huge rock was lifted up by the
oscillations of the earth, from the place where it had reposed
for centuries, and hurled to the opposite side of the road.

Dows Hill, the country residence of the governor, suffered great
injury, and his excellency Sir C. A. Fitzroy lost furniture to
the amount of 1000l. sterling. De Witts, the seat of Sir Robert
Horsford, Knt., solicitor-general of Antigua, was nearly levelled
with the ground, and several other delightful country residences
partly destroyed. The lately established villages were nearly all
dismantled—their neat little stone cottages in ruins. Many of the
Moravian and Wesleyan settlements throughout the island have
suffered very much, as well as several of the forts. Rat Island
battery is also much damaged, as well as the new lunatic asylum
erected there. In many parts of the island, pools of water were
formed, where hitherto no appearance of moisture was to be found;
while in other places, established ponds were completely dried

The boats and ships in the harbour were fearfully affected. The
island could not be seen for the space of ten minutes, from the
dense cloud which arose from it. The hills which encircle the
harbour were fearfully shaken; and at that part known as
“Hatton’s-hill” the effects were truly terrific. The whole of
this eminence, which rises rather conically, is rent into yawning
fissures to the extent of about eighteen or nineteen acres. This
spot had been appropriated to the negroes’ provision ground; and
in one place, a portion of their well-cultivated gardens slipped
from the brow of the hill, and, still clothed with its vegetable
productions, half way filled up one of the chasms, (in breadth
from three to four feet,) cleft in the solid ground. Upon the
margin of the sea, another deep abyss presents itself. The solid
rock is rent asunder, in extent to about forty feet long, thirty
feet deep, and near seventy feet wide. That peculiarly shaped
rock known to mariners as “Ship’s Stern,” and which has proved
for so long a time a sure landmark to pilots, was shivered to
pieces; and McNish’s mountain (the highest in the island) very
much rent and fissured. Several shocks were felt during the next
forty-eight hours, and the ground appeared to have a tremulous
motion for several weeks after. A proclamation was issued by his
excellency Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, setting apart Friday,
the 14th of February, a day of “public humiliation and
thanksgiving before God, in acknowledgment of his Divine power,
so fearfully and wonderfully displayed, as well as his mercy and
forbearance in sparing the island from utter destruction,” which
was kept throughout Antigua. At Barbuda, the earthquake was also
severely felt—all the stone buildings, with the exception of a
small school-room, fell.

Barbados, St. Vincents, Martinique, Dominica, and St. Thomas,
felt the shock but slightly. Guadaloupe was the greatest sufferer
of the group. One whole town. Point à Pitre, was entirely
destroyed, and upwards of 4000 souls perished, while about 600
were severely wounded. A few days after the earthquake. Admiral
Gourbeyre, the governor of Guadaloupe, despatched the “Papillon”
man-of-war to Antigua to inquire into its state, and render all
the assistance possible. She brought the intelligence, that out
of the inhabitants of one entire street, only one individual (a
female) was saved alive. Soon after the earthquake, a fire broke
out, and consumed what the earthquake had spared. An American
master of a ship was taken into custody for secreting many
articles of value, (the property of the sufferers,) on board his
ship. His sentence would have been death; but on account of his
having been seen to render assistance to some of the poor
creatures who were partly buried beneath the fallen buildings, it
was mitigated, and he was condemned to serve on board the galley
for a certain term.

At Monserrat, the effects of the earthquake were severely
experienced. Scarcely a house in the island that had the least
particle of brick-work about it was uninjured; and some were so
rent, that they were obliged to be pulled down. A great many of
the buildings on the sugar estates were levelled with the ground,
and otherwise severely injured. The fall of earth was so great
from the mountain, and the dust so thick, that it was at first
supposed to be a fresh eruption from the _Souffrière_, a volcanic

The following is an extract from a letter from a resident upon
the island:—

“I was about five hundred yards from the sulphur pit, opening an
old spring of fresh water; the earthquake commenced gradually—the
oscillation slow. Though sensible it was an earthquake, I was
under no apprehension, till of a sudden I heard a dreadful noise.
On looking towards the mountain over the sulphur, it was
enveloped in one mass of smoke as I thought. It was then time to
move my quarters, but I was thrown upon my back by the violent
motion. The path that I returned I observed cracking; I called to
the man to be cautious—it was giving way—he came instantly
forward, saying it was well we got over as we did, for the path
was fallen in. The mountain, to the extent of a mile, is rent in
various places. A man this moment has returned from the sulphur,
stating that the crater is open, but does not perceive any
greater appearance of smoke from it than usual.”

We passed Monserrat three days after the earthquake. From the
deck of the steamer we could perceive that large slips from the
mountains were still falling; and every now and then a cloud of
dust arose.

St. Christopher’s also suffered very severely, the damage done
being immense. The stone dwellings and stores in Basseterre, the
capital of the island, fearfully shook and rent,—some of the
finest, but a mass of ruins, and others rendered unsafe. The
north and south vestibules of the parochial church of St. George
were severely injured, as well as the walls of the main building,
which in some places were rent from top to bottom. The clock
stopped at half-past ten, the time the earthquake commenced; many
of the mural monuments which adorned the interior of the church
were also destroyed. The Female Benevolent Institution was much
damaged, and the West Indian Bank rent and split. The
reading-rooms also suffered, the south gable having fallen into
the street beneath. One large dwelling, situated in the square,
and known as “Wall House,” fell a complete prey to the violence
of the rockings. The entire side walls fell down, which striking
upon a horse-stable beneath, buried the unfortunate animals in
the ruins. Some of the private dwelling-houses were completely
gutted, nothing remaining of them but the exterior walls. The
gaol was so shattered, that the prisoners had to be removed, and
accommodated for the night in the hospital adjoining. The square
was crowded with a concourse of persons of every age, sex, and
condition—pride, rank, power, were alike forgotten—as upon bended
knees, or with clasped hands and pallid lips, they invoked the
aid of that Great Being “_who rideth upon the wings of the
wind,_” and at whose rebuke “_the earth shook and trembled, and
the foundation also of the hills moved, and were shaken._”

The estates in the country suffered greatly; steam-engines,
windmills, boiling-houses, proprietors’ dwellings, &c., the
labour of many years, were in one moment levelled with the
ground. The works and dwelling-house at Bevan Island, (in the
parish of St John’s,) situated upon a cliff, were lifted from
their foundations, and hurled into the ravine below. St. Peter’s
church was also greatly injured, as well as the Moravian church
at Cayon. Upon one estate, report said, that three negro-houses
sank into the earth; and in the vicinity, the ground opened, and
a pool of water, of a particularly white and clear quality, was
formed. In the neighbourhood of Sandy Point, at an estate
belonging to the Payne family, the earth also opened, and vomited
forth from its secret depths fumes of sulphureous vapour. Fort
George, at Brimstone Hill, has felt the shock in a serious
manner; while the mountain itself is, in many places, despoiled
of its beauty, from the land-slips which have taken place. From
Mount Misery, the highest point of the island, a long spiral
cloud of white smoke was seen to ascend during the time of the
earthquake; and the sulphureous spring situated in its centre is
said to have overflowed its bounds.

At Johnstone’s, or French River, a melancholy catastrophe
occurred. It is a spot chosen by the washerwomen of Basseterre as
the scene of their necessary avocations; and upon the eventful
morning of the earthquake, about ten of these females were busily
employed in washing, in a natural basin, (formed by huge rocks,)
at the moment of the shock taking place. Seven of these women
fortunately escaped by flight; but the three, who were exactly
underneath the cliff, met a more melancholy fate. At the
commencement of the awful commotion, an immense rock parted from
this cliff, and fell into the stream below. The affrighted
females fled from the scene of danger; but, alas! the increased
oscillations of the earth caused it to rebound with fearful
velocity, and striking against a larger rock, it split into three
or four pieces, and thus dealt destruction to each of the poor
panic-stricken women! From some parts of St. Christopher’s, the
Dutch island of St. Eustatia was seen to tremble like an
aspen-leaf. Nevis also felt the dire commotion; the streets of
the capital presented but one mass of ruins. The bath-house, an
immense pile of the strongest masonry, was split and rent in
every direction, and some of the massive stones riven in two. The
court-house was greatly injured—many of the finest of the stores
and dwelling-houses levelled, and the busy marts become mere
heaps of rubbish. In many parts of the island, the earth was rent
open to the extent of several inches—cliffs toppled down—columns
of water were thrown up, and pools formed, where, prior to the
awful visitation, nothing of the kind was to be perceived. Many
of the estates also suffered great devastations; and some of the
inhabitants left their tottering houses, and took shelter beneath
sheds and outhouses.

It is impossible to describe the appearance presented in these
different islands; indeed, it baffles all description. The scene
cannot be painted, and language fails to impart the terror and
alarm which prevailed. It was a beautiful day throughout the
archipelago—the sun was abroad in all its glory, shedding a
fervid ray over every object, and gilding the waters of the blue
Caribbean, which lay quietly smiling beneath its influence. The
breeze was as soft as an infant’s sigh, and the wide canopy of
heaven was spread aloft in all its beauty. Little then did

    “Coming events cast their shadows before them.”

A few minutes more, and darkness brooded over the land; and then,
as it cleared away, the devastations presented themselves to the
wondering gaze, and caused the strongest mind to quail! Yet, who
could repine? for how signal was the mercy of God, who, amid all
the dire convulsions, spared the lives of so many of his
trembling creatures!

At the Savannah, besides many other places in the Union, the
shock, which extended north as far as New York, was felt.

On the 8th February, the day of the great earthquake, the waters
of the river Tiber, which washes the city of Rome, rose suddenly
to such an immense height, as to inundate the houses to the first
story. In Portugal, about the same time, loud subterranean
thunder was heard; and soon after, the earth opened, and sent up
large volumes of water, which overflowed the country for some
miles. In the course of the following month, (March,) shocks of
earthquake were felt in several places, from Liverpool and London
north, as far as Van Dieman’s Land south. In Jamaica, several
smart shocks were experienced, which caused great excitement, and
a day of public fast and humiliation was set apart by the
government. The Grand Cayman (one of the three islands called
Caymanas, lying between Jamaica and Cuba) has disappeared. This
group of islands is inhabited principally by the descendants of
the old buccaneers, who used to frequent these seas in former
years, and negro turtle-fishers. They take their name from being
a resort for the _cayman,_ or alligator, who frequent these
shores for the purpose of depositing their eggs in the sand.
Trinidad has also been visited by several shocks of earthquake.

These several instances shew how very general these awful
convulsions have been within the space of a few weeks; and prove
to us (setting aside superstitious notions) that we ought
seriously to consider “the signs of the times.” Great fears were
expressed by many of the credulous in America, upon feeling, or
hearing of the earthquake; as on 1st January, the same year, a
proclamation had been issued, by an American Millerite, in the
following alarming words:—

“Great Earthquake!—To all the people far and near, to dreadful
warning give ear. Jan. 11, 1183, there will be a great
earthquake; three shocks in succession in all the whole world.
Let all the people believe, and tremble before God; for the time
will come when the saints will possess the kingdom. Jan. 31,
1843, the door of mercy will be shut against the whole world.—
Now, my dear friends, I would advise you to flee for mercy, while
the door of mercy is open. The Spirit of God testifies these
things which are coming on the earth.”

As soon as the events of this distressing earthquake became known
in the sister colonies, meetings were held by the legislature, to
take into consideration the best means of alleviating the wants
and distresses of the Antiguan and other sufferers. Barbados was
the first island which despatched a grant for the relief of the
sufferers in the several islands. Trinidad granted 1000l.
sterling; St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Jamaica, the Bahamas, &c.,
joined in their benevolence.

The subject of the great earthquake, and the loss met with by
Antigua, was brought before the House of Commons on the 14th of
March, 1843, by W. A. Mackinnon, Esq., M.P. for Lymington. A
meeting was held in London on the 11th of March, for the purpose
of taking measures for the relief of the sufferers in Antigua.
The agent for the island, Dr. Nugent, presided at the meeting, at
which also the bishop, Dr. Davis, was present, and was requested
by the meeting to attend Dr. Nugent in his interview with the
principal secretary of state for the colonies, for the purpose of
soliciting aid from government.

Extensive subscriptions have been entered into at London and
Liverpool,[73] &c. Her most gracious Majesty Queen Victoria,
Prince Albert, the Duchess of Kent, and that exemplary and
benevolent lady the Dowager Queen of England, with many of the
nobility and commoners of England, have all most kindly and
liberally bestowed that aid, so truly wanted by the distressed

It must be remarked, that the sufferers by this most awful and
unprecedented occurrence are not to be found among the humbler
grades of life, but in most instances are those who move in the
higher and middle classes—individuals who are, generally
speaking, endued with keener sensibilities, and who will thus
feel more the change which, no doubt, will reduce many of them
from comparative luxury to extreme want, unless most effectual
aid be rendered to them.

Soon after the earthquake, the Royal Mail Steam-packet Company’s
ship Actæon was dispatched from St. Thomas’s, to learn the fate
of the colonies.

The “Thames,” the Royal Mail Steam-packet Company’s ship, Capt.
Haste, was passing Antigua at the moment of the shock. Capt.
Haste says, “The Thames was brought up as if on a reef of rocks,
to his own dismay, and the dismay of all on board, and continued
for a short period to jump and kick as if beating on rocks.”

The shock was felt severely at sea. “The brig British Queen,
Capt. Kennedy, from Whitehaven, lat. 17° 3′ north, long. 58° 45′,
ship going six knots, felt a severe shock of earthquake, which
stopped her way when 160 miles due east of the island, on the
8th, which lasted about four minutes.” A French brig coming to
St. Thomas’s, “off Tortola, felt the shock so severely, he (the
captain) thought that the vessel had struck on a rock.”

Soon after the earthquake. Admiral Sir Charles Adams arrived at
Antigua, in order to inspect the dock-yard. Before the
earthquake, the barometer was noticed to vary from 30° to
one-tenth higher; and on the 8th of February it stood at 30·2 in.

The next event of importance was the appearance in the heavens of
a most beautiful comet. The first time this beauteous stranger
was observed in Antigua, was on the 3rd of March, 1843. Its first
appearance was like a scarf of clear white, shooting up from the
horizon, and forming an arch of about 30°. The nucleus not being
above the horizon, this phenomenon was supposed to be similar to
the _aurora-borealis;_ but as it gradually ascended the heavens,
this idea was dissipated, and it was clearly seen to be a comet.
Upon the evening it was first observed, a very splendid meteor
passed over the town. Admiral Sir Charles Adams, on his way from
Port Henderson to Spanish Town, Jamaica, observed this wondrous
traveller, and made the following observations upon it, on board
her Majesty’s ship “Illustrious:”—

“March 4th, 1843. About fifty minutes after sunset, observed a
strong ray of light in the west-by-south quarter, supposed to be
a zodiacal light.

“March 5th. The same seen.

“March 6th. It proved to be a comet, the tail subtending an angle
of 37° 14″.

“March 7th. At forty minutes past seven, p. m., angular distance
from Sirius 83° 50″, length of tail 34° 28″

“March 8th, At forty-seven minutes past seven p. m., angular
distance from Sirius 80° 19′; length of tail 29° 54″

“March 9th. Cloudy.

“March 10th. At fifty-four minutes past seven, p. m., angular
distance from Sirius, 74° 48′ 20″; length of tail, 24° 16′.

“March 11th. The same was seen,—much less brilliant.”

The appearance of this eccentric body caused great excitement,
occurring as it did so recently after the earthquake. When first
perceived, it was supposed by many to be a lunar rainbow; but its
steady movements and long continuance soon dispelled this idea.
At times the stars could be distinguished through it, while at
other periods they were hidden from observation. This comet, it
appears, was discovered by Mr. Glaisher, of the Cambridge
Observatory, as far back as the 28th of October, 1842. When
discovered, “its north declination was nearly 69°, with right
ascension of 16h. 40m. Now (Dec. 3) it has south declination of
34°, and right ascension of 19h. 16m. From the immense rapidity
of its motion as it approaches its perihelion, it is probable
that it is a comet of very long period. It seems this comet is
not identical with the Chinese one of 1301, but coincides with
the comet of Halley.” This is Mr. Glaisher’s own statement of the
appearance of this wonderful heavenly body.

On Good Friday, being the 14th April, 1843, the cathedral of St.
John’s was re-opened for public worship, after being temporarily
repaired for that purpose. An appropriate and impressive sermon
was preached by the archdeacon, to a numerous congregation. All
the other places of worship were crowded with attentive hearers.
About eight o’clock in the evening, a sharp shock of earthquake
was felt, which caused many of the inhabitants to rush from their
houses, or from the respective chapels they had congregated in.
Providentially, it did not continue long, and no accident
happened; but from the recent awful convulsion of a similar
nature, it was a moment of extreme terror to many.

During the month of April, 1843, another comet made its
appearance. This coincides strangely with events of the year
1690, the period of the great earthquake in Antigua, which
devastated great part of the town of St. John’s, and rent
“Hatton’s Hill,” and which was followed by the appearance of two

Up to the time of this work going to press, more than 35,000l.
currency have been received from the British West Indian
Colonies, and subscriptions raised in England, for the relief of
the sufferers in the late awful earthquake. Since that dreadful
occurrence, agricultural wages have risen from 4s. to 8s.
currency per diem; and great complaints are made by the planters
for not being able to obtain a sufficient number of labourers to
carry on with expediency the culture of the sugar-cane.


[73] Francis Shand, Esq., gave 100l.


                             No. 1.

_Copy of the First Commission which was ever granted for the
Government of Barbados and the Leeward Islands._

Whereas We have byn crediblie informed by our well-beloved
subject Raphe Merifeild of London, Gentleman, for and on the
behalf of our well-beloved subject Thomas Warner, Gent. That the
said Thomas Warner hath lately descovered fower several Islands
in mayne ocean toward the Continent of America, the one called
the Island of St. Christopher’s, alias Merwar’s Hope; one other
the Isle of _Mevis;_ one other the Isle of Barbados; and one
other the Isle of Monserate, which said Islandes are possessed
and inhabited only by Savage and Heathen people, and are not, nor
at the tyme of the descovery were in the possession, or under the
gouernment of any Christian Prince, State, or Potentate. And
thereupon, the said Thomas Warner beinge sett forth and supplyed
by the said Raphe Merefeild for that purpose made entrie into the
said Islandes for & on the behalfe of our deare ffather and hath
sithence with the consent and good likinge of the natives made
some good beginninge of a plantation & Colony, and likewise of an
hopefull trade there, and hath caused diverse of our subjects of
this our Realme to remove themselves to the said Islandes, with
purpose to proceede in so hopefull a worke. Know ye therefore,
That we in consideration of the premisses and to the intent that
the said Raphe Merifeild and Thomas Warner may be encouraged and
the better enabled with the more ample countenance and authority
to effect the same, doe by these presents take as well the same
Islandes as all the inhabitants there and alsoe the same Thomas
Warner and other our lovinge subjects under his commande or
government resident on the said Islandes or any of them, and all
lands good or other thinges within the said Islandes or any other
neighbour Islandes to them, or any of them adjoining already by
the said Thomas Warner or his company inhabited or possessed, or
hereafter to be inhabited or possessed, not beinge in the
possession or governement of any other Christian Prince, State or
Potentate, into our Royal protection. And of our especiall grace,
certeyne knoledge, and meree motion have given and granted and by
these presents doe give and grant unto the said Thomas Warner,
duringe our pleasure the custodie of the aforesaid Islandes, and
of everie of them together with full power and authority for us &
in our name & as our Leuitenant to order and despose of any
landes or other thinges within the said Islandes, and to governe,
rule and order all and singular persons which nowe are ore
hereafter shall bee abydinge in the said Islandes or any of them,
as well our natural borne subjects, as the natives and Savages of
the said Islandes and all other that shall happen to be or abyde
there by such good & reasonable orders, articles and ordinances
as were heretofore made and agreed upon betweene them the said
Raphe Merifeild & Thomas Warner or such other good & reasonable
orders & ordinances as shall be most requisite and needfull at
the discretion of him the said Thomas Warner. And all such as
shall disobey, chastise, correct and punish accordinge to their
faults and demeritts. And alsoe with force and stronge hande to
represse and anoye all such as shall in hostile manner attempte
or goe about to encounter the said Thomas Warner or his Company,
or to possess or invade the said Islandes or any of them, or to
ympeache our possession thereof, or to hurt or to annoy him or
our subjects there beinge or any others which hereafter shall goe
or transporte themselves to the said Islandes or any of them. And
generally to doe all such acts, as shall or may tend to the
Establishment of our Government settling a Colony or plantation
advance any trade or commerce there which they the said Raphe
Merefeild & Thomas Warner or either of them shall find mete or
beneficial for us or our Kingdom or subjects straightly
chargeinge and commandinge all manner of persons which now are or
hereafter shall be abydinge in the said Islandes or any of them,
that they be obidient, ayding and assisting to the said Thomas
Warner, in all thinges as to our Leiutenant. And foreasmuch as
the said Raphe Merifeild hath at his owne charges not only
furnished and set forth the said Thomas Warner in the preemisses,
but alsoe byn the means of transportinge our well beloved John
Jeffreson gentleman, & many other our subjects hither and hath
byn the especial furtherer of that whole designe. We doe by these
present give and grant to the said Raphe Merifeild and to his
partners, deputies, factors, servants and assignes, full power
and authority freely to trade and traffique to and from the said
Island for all manner of goods, merchandizes & commodities
whatsoever payinge the customs and other dutyes therefore due.
And alsoe to transporte, send and convey unto the said Islandes
and plantations or any of them, for the mayntenance &
strengtheninge of the same all and everie such our lovinge
subjects as already are or hereafter shall be willing or
desirouse voluntary to enter into, be sent, transported or goe
unto the said Islandes & plantation aforesaid upon with and under
such covenant contract and agreement as betweene them are or
shall be made and agreed upon and to defende themselves in the
same by all lawfull wayes and meanes and generally to doe and
performe all such acts as shall or may tende to the establishment
of our said Government settling a Colony or Plantation uppon the
said Islandes or any of them and the advancement of any trade or
commerce there with the said Thomas Warner and his Company uppon
the said Islandes or any of them without lett disturbance or
interruption of any person or persons beinge our naturall borne
subjects, denizens or strangers. And our further will and
pleasure is, that in case the said Thomas Warner be at this
present dead, or hereafter shall die, our Leiutenant as
aforesaid, then and in that case, we doe hereby authorise and
appoint the said John Jeffreson if he shall be then livinge, in
his room and place. And We, doe hereby give and grant unto him
the like power, authority and prehemience during our pleasure as
is before by these presents lymitted, meant or mentioned to the
said Thomas Warner, and if in case the said John Jeffreson be at
this present dead, or hereafter shall die our Leiutenant as
aforesaid then our English subjects being or which shall be
resident in the said Islandes shall and may elect some other able
and fitte person there resident, to be our Leuitenant whoe by
virtue of these presents shall have the alike power, authority
and preheemience during our pleasure, as is before lymitted
meante or intended to the said Thomas Warner and soe from tyme to
tyme upon the decease of the Leiutenant, the English subjects
there residing shall and may elect a new Leiutenant whoe shall
have the like privilege authority and prehemience during our
pleasure as is above mentioned. In Witness whereof. We have
caused these our Letters to be Patents.

Witness ourselvese at Southampton, the thirteenth day of
September, in first yeare of our Reigne 1625

Per ipsum Regum


Great Seal of England

Wynn and Wolseley.

                             No. 2.


William Warner, of Framlington, co. of Suffolk, Esq., the
representative of an ancient and distinguished family in that
county, m. Margaret, dau. of Geo. Jermingham, co. Suffolk, Esq.,
by whom (among other issue) he left a son,

Sir Thomas Warner, first English governor, and colonizer of many
of the West India Islands, and who, for his energetic exertions
in extending his majesty’s dominions in the American seas, was
graciously complimented, and had the honours of knighthood
conferred upon him by his sovereign, Charles I., at Hampton Court
Palace, 21 Sept. 1629. Sir Thomas m. 1st, Sarah, dau. of Walter
Snelling, of Dorchester, Esq.; and 2ndly, Rebecca, dau. of Thomas
Payne, co. Surrey, Esq. By his first marriage. Sir Thomas had
  1. Edward.
  2. Mary, buried at Putney, co. Surrey, 29 Dec. 1635.

By his second wife Sir Thomas had
  3. Philip.

Sir Thomas Warner, dying in 1648, was succeeded in his estates by
his eldest son,

Edward, a captain in the army at the early age of thirteen. He
was sent by his father, Sir Thomas Warner, in 1632, with a party
under his command, to colonize Antigua, of which island he was
the first English governor. His lady was made prisoner, and
carried away, by the Caribs, in 1640, (vide p. 9, vol. i.,) and
dying without issue, was succeeded by his brother,

Philip, colonel in the army, and governor of Antigua in 1674. He
m. Henrietta Ashton, sole heiress of her brother, Col. Henry
Ashton. Col. Philip Warner having acquired great wealth, d. 23
Oct. 1689, and was buried at St. Paul’s, Antigua, leaving issue,
by Henrietta, his wife, two sons and four daus. His eldest son,

Thomas, inherited the family estates of the Folly and Savannah,
m. Jane, dau. of — Walrond, of Antigua, Esq., by whom he had
issue four sons and one dau. Col. Thomas Warner, dying in 1695,
was buried at St Paul’s, Antigua, 11 Nov. of that year, and was
succeeded in his estates by his eldest son,
  i. Edward, a colonel in the army, and member of the Council for
    the Island of Antigua; m. Elizabeth, dau. of the Hon. Richard
    Scott, (one of King William III.’s counsellors for Barbados,)
    by whom he had (among other issue) a son and heir,
    Richard-Scott, who dying a minor, at Eltham, in Kent, during
      the lifetime of his father, his three surviving sisters
      became the co-heirs of the family property—viz.,
    1. Grace, born at Cobb’s Crop, Antigua, 13 Oct. 1717, died 31
      May, 1754; m. 1st, (in 1735,) Samuel Byam, Esq., the son of
      Major S. Byam, and grandson of Col. Willoughby Byam; and
      2ndly, William Fauquier, Esq., F.R.S. By her first husband
      (buried at St. George’s, Antigua, 14 Jan. 1738) she had
      issue one son and one dau.,
      1. Samuel, who died 19 Nov. 1761, three weeks before the
        day appointed for his marriage, when his sister,
      2. Phillis, became his heir.
        By her second husband (buried at Eltham, 21 Dec. 1788,
        aged 80) she had, among other issue,
      3. Thomas Fauquier, who died in 1827.
      4. Georgiana, m. 25 May, 1787, George Venables Lord Vernon.
    2. Elizabeth-Anne, born in 1718, and m. in 1739, to Godschall
      Johnson, of Bloomsbury-square, Esq., (which family are now
      in possession of the Warner estates of Savannah and
      Folly,[74]) by whom she had issue.
    3. Jane, born at Christ’s Church, Barbados, in 172O, m. at
      St. John’s, Antigua, 2 Jan. 1738, to the Hon. and Rev.
      Francis Byam, rector of St John’s, and counsellor of that
      island, by whom she had a son, the Hon. Edward Byam,
      president of Antigua for nearly fifty years, born at St.
      John’s, in 1740, who, failing of male issue, is now
      represented by his four granddaughters, i. Adelaid; ii.
      Anne-Byam; iii. Jane-Elizabeth; iv. Maria-Catherine,
      co-heirs of the barony of Lee de Spenser.
  ii. Ashton, (second brother of Edward Warner, whose lineage is
    traced above,) speaker of the house of assembly, and
    attorney-general for Antigua, born in 1691, and m. 8 April,
    1714, Eliza-Anne, (dau. of George Clarke, of Clark’s Hill,
    Antigua, Esq., and relict of Major Samuel Byam,) who died 2
    June, 1748. The Hon. Ashton Warner died in Feb. 1752, and was
    interred in the same vault with his deceased wife, leaving a
    numerous issue.
  iii. Henry, (third son of Col. Thomas Warner,) clerk of the
    assembly, Antigua, in 1724, born in 1693, and buried at the
    family vault on the Savannah Estate, in that island, in 1731,
    in the 39th year of his age.
  iv. Philip, baptized at St Paul’s, Antigua, and mentioned in
    his father’s will, 27 Sept. 1695, as “my youngest son

Among the numerous children of the Hon. Ashton Warner, Speaker of
the house of assembly, his youngest sons were,
  i. Samuel-Henry, born 11 Dec. 1733, and appointed deputy
    provost-marshal of Antigua, who, marrying in 1762, was father
    of the Hon. Samuel Warner, late president of Antigua, and
    brigadier-general of the militia in that island, and who died
    in 1838.
  ii. Daniel, treasurer of Antigua, born in 1724, m. 2 Feb. 1746,
    Rebecca, dau. of Thomas Freeman, Esq.[75] He was killed on
    board H.M. sloop of war, “Virgin,” 25 March, 1760, while
    defending that vessel from the attack of three French
    privateers, leaving, among other issue, a son,
    Thomas, born 12 Feb. 1753, and m. in 1790, Dorothy, dau. of
      the Hon. Francis Ffrye, dying in 1825, at Sevenoaks, co.
      Kent, left, among other issue, three sons,
      1. Daniel-Francis, rector of Hoo, co. of Kent, born 9 June,
        1795, m. in 1818, Sylviana-Maria, dau. of Robert-Walter
        Vaughan, of the city of Bristol, by whom he has issue
        nine children.
      2. Thomas-Shirley, stipendiary magistrate of Monserrat,
        born 24 May, 1797, and m. 9 May, 1825, Rebecca, dau. of
        the Hon. Henry Hamilton, of the island of Monserrat, by
        whom he has issue six children.
      3. Samuel-Ashton, rector of St George’s, Antigua, in 1826,
        born 30 May, 1790, and m. 10 June, 1824, Mary, dau. of
        Stephen-Ross Willock, of Antigua, Esq., by whom he has
        six children.


I cannot conclude this detail of the Warner family without
relating an anecdote of the celebrated ring, mentioned in Hume’s
History of England, as given by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of
Essex, and which jewel is now in possession of a descendant of
Sir Thomas Warner.

When Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex, the far-famed favourite of
Queen Elizabeth, was in the hey-day of his power and her
majesty’s regard, the queen presented him with a diamond ring,
which she ordered him to keep with the strictest care, so that
should he at any time want to beg a boon, or be so unfortunate as
to fall under her majesty’s displeasure, and thus incur imminent
danger from the malevolence of his enemies, he might return it to
her as a talisman, when she pledged her word to accede to his
request, or forgive him, and grant him her protection.[76] It is
unnecessary to enter into the various circumstances which led to
the downfall of this accomplished young nobleman; suffice it to
say, that, led astray by self-interested flatterers, and his own
headstrong passions, which scorned reproof, the Earl of Essex
engaged in a conspiracy against her majesty, and which being
detected, he was tried by his compeers, and condemned to pay
forfeit of his crimes, by suffering decollation. Queen Elizabeth,
although deeply grieved at this defalcation of her kinsman from
his loyalty, as well as from his gratitude towards her, still
remembered with pity the unfortunate earl, then in the full bloom
of manhood, and celebrated for every grace which can adorn a
nobleman, and anxiously looked for the appearance of the ring she
had given to him, in order that some excuse might be afforded her
for granting him a pardon. Days, however, rolled by, and Essex
made no appeal to her majesty’s clemency; until, at length,
deeming him too haughty to return the talismanic jewel which
might have saved his life, Elizabeth became incensed against him—
the high blood of her father, “bluff old Hal,” rose in her veins,
and, signing his death-warrant, he was beheaded on Tower Hill,
25th Feb. 1601. About two years after this tragic event,
Catharine, the first Duchess of Nottingham, (daughter of Henry
Lord Hunsdon, and a relative of the unfortunate earl,) was seized
with a mortal illness, and finding her life drawing to a close,
she despatched a messenger to the queen, beseeching her majesty
to visit her immediately, as she had tidings to communicate to
her, which, without doing, she could not die in peace. Elizabeth,
anxious to soothe her last moments, complied with her request,
and, little deeming what those tidings were, presented herself at
the bed-side of the dying countess, who, summoning up all her
failing energies, related, in the hollow tones of death, the
following circumstances:—

That during the period the Earl of Essex was confined in the
Tower, under sentence of death, he was desirous of obtaining a
faithful messenger who would convey to her majesty a ring, which
he had, at a happier hour, received from her hand, on the sight
of which he hoped the queen’s mercy would be extended to him.
Distrusting, however, those placed about him, he waited in vain
for an opportunity; until, one morning, as he was gazing from his
prison window, he perceived a boy, with whose open countenance he
became so impressed, that he determined to trust him with his
secret, and, making signals to him, (which were observed and
answered by the lad,) the earl “engaged him by money and
promises,” to convey the ring, which he took from his finger, to
Lady Scroop,[77] (a friend of his lordship’s,) and beg her to
present it to her majesty. The youth readily undertook the
commission; but, from some mistake, instead of conveying it to
Lady Scroop, he carried it to her sister, the Countess of
Nottingham. This lady shewed it to her husband, the admiral, the
implacable foe to Essex, who commanded her, under pain of his
heaviest displeasure, to conceal the jewel, and not to breathe a
word of the event to mortal ears. The countess complying with her
lord’s command, the queen was kept in ignorance, and the Earl of
Essex fell a victim to his supposed stubbornness, for, according
to Camden, the chief reason that prevented Queen Elizabeth from
granting him a pardon was his obstinacy in not supplicating for

As soon as the countess had concluded her relation, she earnestly
begged her majesty’s forgiveness; but the queen, losing all
command of herself at this harrowing statement, violently shook
the dying woman, and exclaiming, “
” left the apartment in an agony of grief. As soon as she gained
her dressing-closet, she threw herself upon the floor, tearing
her grey hair, and calling upon the name of Essex. She refused to
sleep upon a bed, and, according to some authors, would never
after receive any sustenance. This, however, must be a mistake,
for the Countess of Nottingham died on the 25th February, 1603,
and her majesty did not depart this life until the 24th of March
following—a period of about twenty-seven days.

After the demise of Queen Elizabeth, this ring passed, with the
other jewels to her successor, James I., from whom it was handed
down to his unfortunate son, Charles I., and who, at the
instigation of his queen, Henrietta Maria, presented it to Sir
Thomas Warner. From Sir Thomas Warner, it passed (in a direct
line) to his great grandson. Col. Edward Warner, who bequeathed
it by will (dated 27th Dec, 1732, proved in the P. C. of
Canterbury, 21st Feb. following) to his brother, Ashton Warner,
as “_a diamond ring_, in shape of a heart, given by Queen
Elizabeth to the Earl of Essex.”

From the Hon. Ashton Warner it descended, as an heirloom, to his
son, Joseph Warner, and it is now in possession of Charles
Warner, Esq., solicitor-general of Trinidad.


[74] This marriage accounts for the Savannah and Folly estates,
having passed into another family.

[75] For further information of this gentleman, the reader is
referred to Appendix No. 19.

[76] The queen’s attachment to Essex might perhaps, in great
measure, arise from the fact of his being her relative—as shewn
in the following table, viz.,

Anne Boleyne, united to Henry VIII., king of England, had issue a
    Elizabeth, afterwards queen of England.
    Mary Boleyne, (sister to Anne Boleyne,) married to William
      Cary, had issue a daughter,
      Catharine Cary, married to Francis Knolleys, K.G., had
        (among other issue) a daughter,
        Lettice Knolleys, married to Walter Devereaux, Earl of
          Essex, K.G., who had issue a son,
          Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex, the favourite.

[77] Philadelphia Cary, second daughter to Henry Lord Hunsdon,
married to Thos. Scroop, of Bolton, in Yorkshire, who succeeded
his father in his title, in 1592, made governor of Carlisle
Castle, and warden of the West Marches, in 1593, and K. G. in

                             No. 3.


This gentleman (Samuel Winthorpe, Esq. of Antigua) was the son of
John Winthorpe, of Groton Hall, co. Suffolk, Esq., by his wife,
Margaret, dau. of Sir John Tindall, Knt., master in Chancery, and
ancestor of the present Chief Justice Tindall. Mr. Winthorpe’s
family had early embraced the Protestant religion, and were among
the most stanch supporters of that creed; and in those dark days,
when Popery once again reared its head in England, the
grandfather of this John Winthorpe attended the martyr Philpots
to the stake, as one of his latest friends. In after years, Mr.
J. Winthorpe, fearing religious persecution, sold off all his
property, (bringing him in 500l. or 600l. per annum, a great sum
in those days,) and emigrated to New England, then a forest
waste, where, in process of time, he became its first governor,
and from whence he kept up a private correspondence with Oliver
Cromwell, then Protector of the Commonwealth. Besides Samuel
Winthorpe, the ancestor of the Antiguan branch of the family, he
had two sons,
  i. Stephen, a colonel in the army, appointed by Cromwell to a
    command in Scotland, and was afterwards a member of his
    parliament, died in 1659, the year prior to the Restoration,
  ii. John, who succeeded his father in the government of New
    England, and was a regular correspondent and distinguished
    member of the Royal Society in Old England, died 5th April,
    1676, aged 70.

Samuel Winthorpe, Esq., visiting Holland, espoused there a Dutch
lady, (whose name we have not been able to ascertain,) with whom
he immediately afterwards emigrated to Antigua, and died there
about 1675. He left by his wife a numerous progeny of sons and
daughters, among whom, Samuel, Joseph, and Henry, inherited a
large estate from their father, but who (by means, it is said,
little creditable to the parties concerned to relate) were
deprived of their patrimony, and, consequently, their place and
station in that insular community. The daughters married into
some of the best Antiguan families, and became the ancestresses
of the Williams, Thomas, and Ffry families. For further
particulars of the Winthorpe family, the reader may consult
“Mathew’s History of New England,” and “Farmer’s Genealogical
Register” of that settlement, as well as later works upon the
United States of North America.

                             No. 4.


Lieut.-Gen. William Byam was descended in a direct line, on his
father’s side, from Caradoc Vraich Vras, Earl of Hereford, Lord
of Radnor, one of the knights of the celebrated Round Table of
King Arthur, (a.d. 540,) who himself sung his praises,
emphatically styling him one of the “Pillars of Britain.” He was
founder of a dynasty of princes not extinguished till after the
Norman invasion, when Blethin, the last of the regal order, was
slain by Bernard Newmarch, near Brecknock, in 1094, and his
territory appropriated to himself and parcelled out amongst his

His son, Cawrdave, was equally, if not more celebrated than his
father, being also extolled in the Triads, and, like King Arthur
himself chosen (besides the enjoyment of his own territory) to be
“Unbennaeth,” or supreme monarch of Britain.

Caw succeeded his father in his patrimonial inheritance, at this
time entitled the Principality of Ferlex and Brecon; and

Gloyw succeeded him; and

Hoyw him, flourishing a.d. 640.

Kynvard, regulus of Ferlex and Brecon, succeeded his father,
Hoyw; and

Kyndeg, who was contemporary with Cadwallader, and lived a.d.
703, succeeded him.

Teithwalch, his son, gained a signal victory over his rival, the
Mercian king, at Carno, in Brecknockshire, (opposite to the
village of Crickhowell,) and in commemoration of which an immense
circle and pile of stones is to be seen to this day.

But the encroachment of the Saxons in his son Tegyd’s time became
more formidable than ever, considerably circumscribing his
limits, that had originally embraced all the territories lying
between the two rivers of Wye and Severn; and

Tangwyd, his son, succeeded to very straitened limits, being
reduced to the lordship of Radnor, with parts of Montgomery and
Brecon; and

Anarawd, his son, succeeded as regulus of Radnor and Brecon, in
the time of Egbert, king of the West Saxons, who united the whole
heptarchy into one entire kingdom, henceforward called that of
“England.” To Anarawd succeeded his son,

Gwyngwy, who, though greatly reduced in territory, still affected
the regal title, calling himself “Brenhin” Ferlex a Brecheiniog.
And to Gwyngwy succeeded his son,

Hugan, called by John de Castares, “Prince of West Wales,” but by
the Welsh historians, more modestly, the “Prince of Brecknock.”
To Hugan succeeded

Druffin, so humbled as to be persuaded or compelled to row King
Edgar in his barge on the river Dee, being one of the tributary
kings who acted that derogatory part, which served to inflate the
pride of that vain-glorious but powerful English monarch. Druffin
m. Crusella, dau. of Idwal ap Meyrick, and was succeeded by his

Maynarch, who m. Ellen, dau. of Eineon ap Seliff, Lord of the
Cantred of Seliff. Maynarch was succeeded by

Blethin, the last prince of his house and family; for William
Rufus promising to Bernard Newmarch (England at that time having
been effectually conquered and possessed by the Normans) all he
could conquer in Wales, that adventurer (at the time gentleman of
the bedchamber to this the second of the Norman kings) set out
for the principality, and the enfeebled prince collecting, on a
sudden, all his diminished forces, a battle ensued in the
neighbourhood of Brecknock, in which he was worsted and himself
slain. The conqueror and his eleven Norman knights (whom, tempted
by the prize, he had invited to partake of his enterprise)
entered into possession; and the last act of royalty shewn to
this unhappy prince by his subjects and followers was the
conveying his corse to the Abbey of Strata Florida, in
Cardiganshire, and there interring it amongst the princes of
Wales, with all the pomp the circumstances allowed. Thus, after a
possession of between five and six hundred years, was this family
divested of every mark of regal dignity. Rhys Goch, however, his
brother, was permitted to retain a small possession on the
confines of the county, entitled the lordship of Ystradew,
(afterwards usurped by the Clares, and came into possession of
the Herberts, Earls of Pembroke.) Rhys Goch, or Rhys the Red,
married Joan, daughter of Cadogan[78] ap Elistan Glorith, (whose
arms are still quartered by the Byam family,) and by her had
Kynwillen, who married Jonnett, dau. and co-heir of Hawell,
Prince of Caerleon, (to whom Henry II. allowed that city, and
twelve miles around circumadjacent country,) and by her, whose
arms are still likewise borne by the Byams, Kynwillen had
Kynwell, who married Gladwys, dau. of Sitsilt ap Duvenwall, Lord
of Gwent, and seventh Baron of Abergavenny, by right of tenure of
the castle thereof, (from the Norman conquest,) and by her had
Arthur, who married Ellen, the dau. of Meirick ap Cradog,
(ancestor of the Matthews, and of the present Earls of Llandaff,)
and had Howell, who married Jone, dau. of Grono ap Llowarth, Lord
of Kebor, and had Griffith, who married Jonnett, dau. and sole
heir of Grono ap Treherne ap Blaith ap Elvarch, Lord of Penrose,
in Monmouthshire, a possession which she conveyed to her
husband’s family, in whose family it remained several centuries,
and the ruins of the mansion are still extant, and by her (whose
arms the Byams still bear) Griffith had David. David marrying
Maud, dau. to Llewelyn Vaughan, of Lansamllo, had Howel Gam, who
marrying Joan, dau. to Adam ap Rees ap Eineon Sais, had Meiric,
and Meiric marrying Gwenllian, dau. to Gwyllim ap Jenkin, had
Ievan ap Meirick, of Penrose, Esq., (from whom, in the time of
his son and grandson, and by the blending of ap that followed
their name with his of Ievan, or Evan, came the name of Abyam,
and at length Byam;) for this Ievan, or Evan, had a son, Jenkin,
or John, that was the first to whom the surname was assigned, and
was of Maerdy, in Monmouthshire, and he a son, Thomas, of same
place, and who marrying Johanna, dau. of Llewelyn ap Gwyllim, had
a son, Edward, who was both of Maerdy, in Monmouthshire,
aforesaid, and of Bath, in Somersetshire, in Subsidy Rolls of
which city he is included, 45 of Henry VIII., 1545, under the
name of Edward Abyam, (the ultimate name as now used being
scarcely, as yet, determined,) and this Edward Abyam dying in
Jan. 1594, was buried at the Abbey Church, 2 Feb. following,
leaving by Welthian, his wife, the dau. of Robert Gamage, (of the
Glamorganshire family of that name,) Thomas Byam, his son and
heir, of Bath, and Lawrence Byam, ancestor of the family now in

Lawrence Byam was of Brasennose College, Oxford, and entering
into holy orders, he was, on 17th June, 1575, by letters patent
under privy seal from Queen Elizabeth, presented to the rectory
of Luckham. He married Anne, or Agnes, dau. of Henry Yewings, of
Capton, in Stogumber, in co. of Somerset, by whom (who survived
her husband, and was buried at Bicknoller, 8 Dec. 1623) he had
four sons, all great loyalists in their day, and the three
eldest, Henry, John, and Edward, all in holy orders, and of
Exeter College, Oxford, (which they entered at the respective
dates of 1597, 1599, and 1600.)

Henry, the eldest, succeeding his father in the rectory of
Luckham, was chaplain in ordinary to Charles II., and the
companion of that monarch in his exile, both by sea and land. “He
engaged,” says Wood, in his “Athenæ Oxoniensis,” “his five sons
in the royal cause, four of whom were captains in the regiment
raised by their father in his majesty’s behalf. In 1636, he had
become prebendary of Wells, and afterwards canon of Exeter. For
his faithful adherence to the royal cause he was severely pointed
at by the opposite party. His wife and daughter perished at sea,
in their attempts to escape into Wales, in order to avoid the
cruelties of the enemy. He attended the king in his exile to
Jersey and the Scilly Islands. He was universally esteemed for
his great sanctity, his knowledge of literature, his loyalty to
his sovereign, and his charity to his fellow-creatures. His
sermons were afterwards published by Hamnet Ward, vicar of
Sturminster Newton Castle, in Dorsetshire, and who also wrote the
epitaph on his tomb, still extant in Luckham church, (for which
see ‘Collinson’s Somersetshire;’ and also for further account of
him, ‘Echard’s History of England,’ under the year 1669.) He died
at the advanced age of 89.”

His brother, John, D.D., rector of Clotworthy, in same county,
following his footsteps, shared his fate, in suffering in his own
person, and those of all his children, unmerited persecutions,
but which to recount would fill a volume. Edward was the son from
whom the Antigua Byams came. He was admitted a student of Exeter
College, Oxford, 31 Oct. 1600, then aged 16, and instituted to
the vicarage of Dulverton, co. of Somerset, 4 Aug. 1612. On 22
July, 1613, he married, at Walton, in same county, Elizabeth, the
dau. of Anthony Eaglesfield, rector of that place, and vicar of
Chewton Mendip, some time fellow of Queen’s Coll., Oxford, (being
of kin with founder;) but in 1625, this Edward Byam transported
himself into Ireland, where he became precentor of Cloyne
Cathedral, (the next dignity therein to that of dean,) and dying
at his seat at Kilwillin, on the river St. Bride’s, in co. of
Cork, on 6 June, 1639, he was buried in the chancel of the parish
church of Castle Lyons. His funeral certificate, signed by his
widow, who survived him, being given in to Ulster’s office,
Dublin, and letters of administration taken out for him in
prerogative court of same place, his second son,

William Byam, born at the house of his uncle, (the aforesaid Dr.
Henry Byam,) at Luckham, 9 March, 1622-3, entered at Trinity
Coll., Dublin, as “Scolarium Commensalis,” 24 May, 1639, just
before his father’s death, and he it was that was first of the
name and family in the West Indies. The civil wars breaking out
soon after the above-mentioned period, he entered on a military
life, and distinguished himself in the manner already recounted,
at Bridgwater and elsewhere. He married Dorothy Knollys, dau. of
Frances Knollys, of Standford-in-the-Vale, co. Berks, Esq., son
of Richard Knollys, next brother of William, the only lawful Earl
of Banbury, K.G. By this marriage the Byams became connected with
the first families in England, and even with royalty itself, as
shewn by the following table[79]—viz.,
  Edward 1st, King of England, m. (2nd) Margaret, dau. of Philip
    III. of France, and had issue,
  Thomas Plantagenet, surnamed “of Brotherton,” Earl of Norfolk
    and Suffolk, and grand mareschal of England, m. Alice, dau.
    of Sir Robert Halys, Knt., and had issue one dau.,
  Margaret Plantagenet, Duchess of Norfolk, m. John Segrave, Lord
    Segrave, and had issue a dau.,
  Elizabeth, one of the heirs of Lord Segrave, m. John Mowbray,
    Lord Mowbray, and had issue,
  Thomas Mowbray, created Duke of Norfolk, 1398, earl marshal of
    England, and Earl of Nottingham. He m. Elizabeth, sister and
    one of the heirs of Thomas Fitz-Allen, Earl of Arundel; died
    in 1400, and left issue,
  Margaret, eldest dau. and one of the heirs of Thomas Mowbray,
    Duke of Norfolk, m. Sir Robert Howard, Knt., and had issue,
  John Howard, created Duke of Norfolk, 1483, m. Catherine, dau.
    of William, Lord Moleyns. The Duke of Norfolk was slain at
    Bosworth Field, 22 Aug., and was buried at Leicester, 1485,
    leaving issue a son,
  Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. His father having been
    attainted, he was restored to the title, and m. Elizabeth,
    dau. and heir of Sir Frederick Tilney, Knt., and died in
    1524, leaving issue a dau.,
  Elizabeth, m. Thomas Boleyne, Viscount Rochford, created Earl
    of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, by Henry VIII., and had
    issue two daus. and one son,
    1. George Boleyne, Viscount Rochford, beheaded, May, 1536.
    2. Anne, youngest dau. of Thomas, Viscount Rochford, m. Henry
      VIII., King of England. She being beheaded, 19 May, 1536,
      left issue,
      Elizabeth, Queen of England, born a.d. 1533, died a.d.
    3. Mary, eldest dau. of Thomas, Viscount Rochford, Earl of
      Wiltshire and Ormond, m. William Cary, esquire to the body
      of Henry VIII., and had, among other issue, a dau.,
      Catherine, (sister of Henry Cary, created Lord Hunsdon,)
      lady of the bedchamber to her cousin-german, Queen
      Elizabeth, m. Sir Francis Knollys, K.G., and dying in 1568,
      was buried at Westminster Abbey, leaving issue a dau.,
      Lettice, who m. Walter Devereaux, Earl of Essex, by whom
      she had Robert, Earl of Essex, the far-famed favourite of
      Queen Elizabeth, and a son, Richard Knollys, (brother and
      heir to William Knollys, created Earl of Banbury,) m. Joan,
      dau. of John Higham, co. Suffolk, and had issue, Francis
      Knollys, of Standford-in-the-Vale, co. Berks, m. Alice,
      sister and co-heir of Sir Wm. Beecher, Knt., clerk to privy
      council, and dying 4 Aug. 1640, left issue a dau., Dorothy,
      who, as already mentioned, m. Lieut.-Gen. Wm. Byam.

Lieut.-Gen. William Byam dying at Antigua, (will proved there
1670-1,) left, by Dorothy, his wife, among other issue, two sons,
Willoughby and Edward. In this way the Byam family became divided
into two distinct branches, Willoughby being the ancestor of the
present Byams of “Cedar Hill,” and Edward that of “Pensive Hall,”
or “Martin Byam’s,” and a dau., Mary, m. to Col. George Needham,
of the island of Jamaica, the son of Sir Robert Needham, first
Viscount Kilmoray, and by whom she was ancestress of the present
Gen. Needham, of that island, and of the Lords Seaford and Howard
de Walden.

Edward Byam, youngest son of Lieut.-Gen. Byam, was governor of
the Leeward Islands,[80] 1715, and president of the council of
Antigua in 1707, born at Surinam, 1663-4, and m. 1st, Mary, dau.
of Samuel Winthorpe, and granddau. of John Winthorpe, first
governor of New England, and of Groton Hall, co. Suffolk; 2ndly,
Lydia, dau., of William Thomas, aunt of Sir George Thomas, and
relict of Samuel Martin, of Green Castle, Antigua, (ancestor of
the present Sir Henry and Sir Byam Martin.) Col. Edward Byam is
described by Oldmixon, in his “British Empire in America,” as a
man of the best head and fortune in British America; and also as
the most popular man in the Leeward Islands. He commanded, in the
attack upon the island Guadaloupe, on the breaking out of the war
of succession, in the reign of Queen Anne, a regiment raised by
himself in Antigua, and a part of the Enniskillen, or 27th regt.
of the line. At the head of this force, he attacked and carried
in gallant style the port called “Les petits Habitans,” and
obliged the enemy to retire. He is honourably mentioned in the
London Gazette, No. 3912, from May 6th to May 10th, and also in
the “Annals of the Reign of Queen Anne.” By his first wife, Mary,
he had one son and one dau.—viz.,
  Edward, m. Walthian Devonshire, and died at Antigua, 29 May,
  Mary, born 13 Oct. 1690, m. Col. Thomas Williams, of the Old
    Road, Antigua.

By his second wife, Lydia, relict of Samuel Martin, he had three
sons and two daus.—viz.,
  i. George, born at Antigua, 24 April, 1704, m. Henrietta-
    Maria, dau. of Col. John Ffrys, of Antigua, and died 12 Nov.
    1734, leaving issue two sons and four daus.—viz.,
    1. George, of Apps Court, co. Surrey, m. Louisa, dau. of
      Peter Bathurst, Esq., M.P., of Clarendon Park, co. Wilts,
      and niece of Earl Bathurst, and was buried at St George’s,
      Antigua, 7 Nov. 1779, had issue, 1. George Byam, died an
      infant, in 1774; 2. Selina, m. Rev. William Hony, of
      Liskeard, co. Cornwall, and has issue; 3. Elizabeth, m.
      Mark Batt, of Lawell House, Co. Devon, and d. s. p.; 4 and
      5. Louisa and Henrietta-Maria, both d. unm.
    2. John, died at Antigua, 26 Oct. 1754, unm.
    3. Mary, m. 1st, —— Lyons, of Antigua, and 2ndly, Daniel
      Mathew, of Antigua, and Felix Hall, co. Essex, some time
      high-sheriff for that county, had issue, 1. Daniel-Byam
      Mathew, of Felix Hall, who m. Elizabeth, dau. of Sir Edward
      Deering, Bart.; 2. George, who m. Euphemia Hamilton, and
      had issue a son, the present George B. Mathew, capt. in
      Coldstream Guards, and late M.P. for Shaftesbury, who m. at
      St George’s, Hanover Square, April, 1835, the dau. and heir
      of Henry Hoare, Esq., and granddau. of the celebrated
      antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart.; 3. Elizabeth, who
      m. Robert, fourth Viscount Galway; 4. Louisa, who m.
      Admiral Lord Gambier; and 5. Jane, who m. Samuel Gambier,
      commissioner of the navy.
    4. Elizabeth, d. unm. in 1806.
    5 and 6. Henrietta Maria and Lydia, both d. unm.
  ii. William, of Byams, Antigua, and of Westbourn House, co.
    Middlesex. He was a colonel in the army, and member of the
    privy council, Antigua; born 3 July, 1706; admitted of
    Christ’s Coll., Cambridge, 21 June, 1720, B.A. 1724, m. 1735,
    Anne, dau. of Col. John Gunthorpe, member of council,
    Antigua, and had issue,
    1. Martin, member of the council, Antigua, born 29 Sept.
      1742, admitted a fellow commoner of Sidney Coll.,
      Cambridge, 30 April, 1761, m. in 1771, Elizabeth, dau. of
      Stephen Blizard, judge of court of common pleas, Antigua,
      and relict of William Warner, of Antigua. He died June,
      1805, s. p., and was buried at Lyndhurst, Hants.
    2. Edward, lieut. R.N., born 15 Sept. 1743, m. Anne, dau. of
      William Gunthorpe, of Antigua, Esq. He was lost in the
      “Ville de Paris,” after her capture, in 1782, leaving, by
      Anne, his wife, a son and dau.,
      1. William-Henry, capt. R.N., who m. his first cousin,
        Alicia, dau. of Anthony Wyke, Esq. of Monserrat, and died
        26 Nov. 1838, s. p.
      1. Louisa, only dau. of her father, Edward Byam, d. unm. at
        Kensington, in 1835.
    3. Anne, eldest dau., born 27 Sept. 1744, m. 13 Jan. 1763, to
      Anthony Wyke, Esq. of Monserrat, and died 18 June, 1814,
      leaving a dau., Alicia, m. to her first cousin, William
      Henry Byam, (see above.)
    4. William, capt. in 68th regt. of foot, and of Woodborough,
      in Somersetshire, born 7 Nov. 1753, m. in 1781, Mary, only
      dau. of Rev. Richard Burgh, of Mount Bruis, co. Tipperary,
      Ireland, and died in France, 27 April, 1830, leaving issue
      three sons and three daus.—viz.,
      1. Martin-William, born 19 Aug. 1783, m. Elizabeth, dau. of
        Thomas Bull, of Bostock Hall, co. Chester, and died 22
        April, 1836.
      2. Rev. Richard-Burgh, member of council, Antigua, fellow
        of King’s Coll., Cambridge, vicar of Kew and Petersham,
        Co. Surrey, born 26 Jan. 1785.
      3. Edward-Samuel, late commissary-general of the police in
        the Mauritius, and civil commissary of Port Louis, in
        which situation he distinguished himself by his undaunted
        zeal and inflexible efforts to suppress the slave trade
        in that island, as may be seen in a recent work of Sir
        Thomas Fowell Buxton, Bart. on the slave trade, p. 220.
        Mr. Byam is also a gentleman of great antiquarian
        research, and a Celtic scholar, as well as the compiler
        of a “Genealogical Table of the Kings of England,”
        reckoned one of the best that has been published; born 5
        Aug. 1788, m. at the ambassador’s chapel, Paris, 26
        March, 1818, Eleanor, eldest dau. of Andrew Murray, prior
        of Rathdowney, in Queen’s County, and of Claremonts, co.
        Wicklow, and niece of Viscount Frankfort de Montmorency,
        and had issue, Edward de Montmorency Byam, who died an
        infant, and was buried at Harpenden, in co. of Herts.
      4. Martha, eldest dau., born 7 May, 1782, and living unm.
      5. Anna-Maria, born 15 March, 1786, living unm.
      6. Alicia-Juliana, born 10 April, 1787, m. 21 Aug. 1805,
        Wm. Leeves, Esq. of Tortington House, co. Sussex.
    5. Alice, second dau. of William Byam, born 29 Sept. 1746, m.
      23 April, 1763, Samuel Eliot, Esq. of Antigua, and died 13
      Dec. 1827, and was buried in the family vault of Lord Lee
      Despencer, at Mereworth, leaving four daus., 1. Anne, m.
      Lieut.-Gen. Sir Henry Crosby, of Barnesville Park, co.
      Gloucester; 2. Elizabeth, m. Sir Thomas Stapleton, Lord Lee
      de Spenser; 3. Mary, m. Robert Cambden Cope, colonel of
      Armagh militia; and 4. Alice, m. to William Hay Carr, Earl
      of Errol, father of the present peer.
  iii. Alice, born 19 May, 1711, m. 11 July, 1728, Robert
    Freeman, of Antigua, Esq., and had issue.
  iv. Lydia, born 14 Aug. 1713, m. 9 Nov. 1734, to her cousin,
    Edward Byam, of Cedar Hill, Antigua, and of Clay Hill, co.
    Middlesex, from whom descends that branch of the family.
  v. Francis, clerk, M.A., rector of St. John’s, Antigua, and
    member of the privy council at that island, born 8 May, 1709,
    admitted a student of Trinity Coll., Cambridge, 1728, and m.
    1738, Jane, dau. and co-heir of Edward Warner, of Eltham, co.
    Kent, member of privy council, Antigua, dying at Antigua,
    left issue four sons and one dau.—viz.,
    1. Edward Byam, judge of the court of vice-admiralty, and
      president of the council of Antigua for near half a
      century, born 21 Dec. 1740, and m. 7 July, 1763, Rebecca,
      dau. of Stephen Blizard, judge of court of common pleas,
      Antigua, dying 8 Feb. 1817, left issue an only child and
      Jane, m. 10 June, 1784, Thomas Norbury Kerby, of Weir’s
        Estate, Antigua, who died while in the execution of his
        office of commander-in-chief, (for the time being,) his
        wife, Jane, dying at Hampton Court Palace, in 1837, left
        by him an only child,
        Anne-Byam Kerby, born in 1796, and m. the Hon. Miles
          Stapleton, rector of Mereworth, co. Kent, third son of
          Lord Lee de Spencer, by whom she had issue,
          Adelaide, for whom her majesty the queen-dowager most
            graciously stood sponsor, born 22 Oct. 1822;
            Ann-Byam, born in 1823; and two other daus.
    2. Sir Ashton-Warner Byam, Knt., A.B. of Sidney Coll.,
      Cambridge, attorney-general of Grenada, and a great
      luminary of the law in the Western world, born 1 June,
      1744, d. unm. 25 Dec. 1790, and was buried in St John’s,
    3. William, of Santa Crux, d. s. p.
    4. Richard-Scott, M.D., born 20 Dec. 1753, and died at Bath,
      unm., 17 Dec. 1832.
    5. Grace, only dau., born 1 Jan. 1752, and m. 3 March, 1767,
      to Thomas Ottley, Esq. of the island of St. Vincent, by
      whom she had a numerous issue—viz., 1. George W. Ottley, of
      Parry’s Estate; 2. Francis-Byam Ottley, of Wier’s Estate;
      3. Matilda Ottley, m. to Hastings Elwyr, barrister; 4.
      Jane, m. 1st, Valentine Horsford, Esq., by whom she had
      five sons, and 2ndly, to Lord James O’Brien, brother and
      presumptive heir to the Marquis of Thomond; and 5. Rebecca
      Ottley, m. to the Hon. Langford-Lovel Hodge, who dying 24
      Jan. 1817, left issue a son, Langford-Lovel Hodge, Esq., m.
      the dau. of — Hart, Esq. of Dorset Square, Brighton, by
      whom he has issue.

The remaining son of Lieut.-Gen. William Byam was Willoughby
Byam, (from whom the present family of the Cedar Hill Byams
descend.) He was a lieut.-col. in the army, and commanded the
body-guard of the commander-in-chief, Gen. Codrington, in the
expedition against the island of St. Christopher’s, in 1690, when
he received a mortal wound in the neck, of which he soon after
died. He is honourably mentioned in the London Gazette of that
period, Nos. 2590 and 2602, and left, among other issue, two
sons, William and Samuel. Samuel Byam, the younger son, was a
major in the army, and dying early in life, (in 1712,) left, by
Elizabeth, his wife, the dau. of George Clarke, of Parker’s Hill,
in Antigua, (and who re-married Ashton Warner, Esq.,) a son, a
second Samuel, who marrying Grace, dau. of Col. Edward Warner,
left Phillis, the heir of her brother, a third Samuel, (that d.
unm.,) and she (Phillis) m. 1st, Charles Wollaston, Esq., M.D.,
F.R.S., (physician to her majesty Queen Charlotte,) and 2ndly,
James Frampton, Esq. of Moreton, in Dorsetshire, and for whose
issue, _vide_ “Burke’s _Commoners_”—1st, “Shirley, of Eatington
Park, co. Warwick,” vol. i. p. 49; 2ndly, “Wollaston, of
Shenton,” vol. iii. p. 419; 3rdly, “Frampton, of Moreton, in co.
Dorset,” vol. iv. p. 193.

William Byam, son and heir, of Cedar Hill, Antigua, colonel in
the army, member of the privy council, and also one of the
general council of the Leeward Islands, m. Mary, dau. of John
Yeamans, of Mill Hill, Old Road, Antigua, lieut.-governor of that
island, and had issue,
  i. Willoughby, died young, and was buried, 7 July, 1714, at
  ii. Yeamans, died young, and was buried at Oxford, in 1714.
  iii. Edward, of Cedar Hill, Antigua, and Clay Hill, co.
    Middlesex, admitted a student of Trinity Coll., Cambridge, m.
    (his first cousin) Lydia, dau. of Edward Byam, governor of
    Antigua, in 1734.
  iv. John-Sampson, died in 1766, unm.
  v. Willoughby, (second of the name, the first having died an
    infant,) died unm. in 1764.
  vi. Henry, D.D., m. Hester, dau. of John Gunthorpe, of Antigua,
    Esq., and dying, left issue by his wife, 1. Hester Byam, m. 7
    Aug. 1781, Anthony Munton, d. s. p.; 2. Mary-Gunthorpe Byam,
    born 9 Nov. 1748, m. in 1771, to Col. William Dundas, brother
    to Lord Viscount Melville; 3. Anne Byam, living at Pear Tree
    Lodge, near Southampton, unm. in 1838; 4 and 5. Henry and
    Edward Byam, died infants.
  vii. Anne, (second dau. living,) m. in 1727, Crooke Thomas, of
    London, merchant.
  viii. Mary, (eldest dau.,) m. 21 March, 1738, to Warner
    Tempest, Esq. of Antigua, and of Moulsey, co. Surrey; and
  ix. Rebecca, m. to Thomas Freeman, Esq. of Antigua.

Edward Byam, son and heir of William Byam, dying 13 June, 1768,
left by Lydia, his wife, issue,
  i. William, of Cedar Hill, son and heir.
  ii. Samuel, who m. 30 June, 1764, Elizabeth, dau. and heir of
    Thos. Sheppard, Esq. of Antigua, and died in 1786, leaving
    issue one dau., Lydia, m. to the Rev. Robt. Sutton, of East
    Dereham, Norfolk, and has issue.
  iii. Edward, buried at Antigua, in 1795.
  iv. Lydia.
  v. Rebecca, m. to — Davies, R.N., died s. p.

William Byam, son and heir, of Cedar Hill, and Sunny Hill, co.
Pembroke, member of the privy council, Antigua, m. 26 June, 1766,
Martha, dau. of Edward Rogers, of Lanwnda, in Pembrokeshire,
died, and was buried at St. George’s, Antigua, 1 Oct. 1779,
leaving issue,
  i. Edward, son and heir.
  ii. Samuel, D.D. of University Coll., Oxford, vicar of
    Catterick, co. York, and chaplain in ordinary to George III.,
    born in 1769, and m. Jane, dau. of John Welsh, of the island
    of St Christopher’s, dying at Brusselles, 24 April, 1816,
    leaving issue,
    1. William-Geo.-Munton, born 5 Aug. 1804, late lieut. in 43rd
      Light Infantry.
    2. Adolphus-Elizabeth, born 5 Sept. 1805, capt in Madras
      artillery, and secretary to the court of Hydrabad, died at
      the Cape of Good Hope, in 1839, s. p.
    3. Henry-James, born in 1813, an officer in the service of
      the Queen of Spain, died at San Sebastien, 5 Aug. 1837, s.
    4. Cornelia-Rachel-Munton, born 23 Feb. 1803, m. Baron
      Augustus de Firkes, of Mittau, in Courland, and died in
    5. Augusta-Louisa-Anne, born 4 Nov. 1806, and m. Frederick
      Shallet Lomax, of Netley Park, co. Hants.
  iii. Lydia, bapt. 4 Sept. 1772, died on her passage from
    Antigua, unm.

Edward Byam, the son and heir, was a member of the house of
assembly of Antigua, born in 1767, and m. Christiana Matilda,
dau. of Matt. Ryan, of Dublin, barrister-at-law, died 27 May,
1795, leaving issue by his wife,
  i. William, son and heir.
  ii. Edward, late major in the 15th Hussars, now lieut.-col. in
    the army. He served in the battles of Salamanca, Vittoria,
    Orthes, and Waterloo, of Warblington Lodge, co. Hants, born
    24 Dec. 1794, and m. 10 Sept 1829, at the residence of the
    British minister at the court of Florence, Elizabeth Augusta,
    dau. of Sir Grenville Temple, Bart., and has issue,
    1. Willoughby-Temple, born 15 Aug. 1832.
    2. Henry-Edward, born 22 Aug. 1835.
    3. Edward, born in April, 1842.
    4. Matilda-Augusta-Anne, born 28 June, 1830.
    5. Agnes- Welthian, born 7 June, 1831.
    6. Maria-Christiana-Elizabeth, born 6 Jan. 1834.
    7. Augusta-Temple, born 10 May, 1837.

William Byam, the present representative of the Cedar Hill
branch, and of Westwood House, co. Hants, member of the council,
Antigua, and late lieut.-col. of the Local Dragoons, m. in 1815,
Martha, dau. of Thomas Rogers, of Antigua, and has issue,
  i. Edward-Gamage, an officer in the 59th regt. born 30 June,
  ii. Thomas-Rogers, born 12 Dec. 1826.
  iii. William, born 10 Feb. 1828.
  iv. Lydia, born 31 Dec. 1818, m. 18 May, 1837, to Francis
    Shand, Esq. of Liverpool, and of Everton, co. Lancaster; and
  v. Martha, born 29 Aug. 1821.

Col. William Byam served under the “hero of a hundred fights,”
the Duke of Wellington, in the battles of Orthes, Toulouse, and
Waterloo, in which latter he was dangerously wounded, and in
those ensanguined plains he belied not his high name, nor the
deeds of his fathers, whom we find so often figuring in the
annals of Antigua, leading its troops to battle, filling some
high official situation, or spilling their hearts’ best blood in
defence of their native shores!


[78] Ancestor of the now Earls of Cadogan.

[79] This pedigree, and that of the Byam family in general, has
been authenticated by Herald’s College, by certificate, dated
“College of Arms, 27 July, 1841.”

[80] So termed by the Heralds of the College of Arms, although
only mentioned in Antiguan history as lieut.-governor of the

                             No. 5.

_Copy of the Grant of Land to Col. Philip Warner, after the
Restoration of Antigua to the English Crown, in_ 1667.

William Lord Willoughby of Parham Captn Generall and Chief
Governor of Barbados and the rest of the Caribee Islands, To all
whom these presents shall come greeting—Whereas the King’s most
excellent Majestie hath by due Conquest regained to himself ye
sole and absolute right and propriet unto and in ye said Island
of Antigua and every part thereof. The said Island having been
lately taken and conquered by the f.french and since retaken and
reduced to his Majestie’s obedience by his Majestie’s forces. And
Whereas the Assembly or Representatives of the said Island have
acknowledged and recognized His Majestie’s said title by Conquest
and have wholly submitted to ye same. Now know ye by virtue of
the power and authority to me given by His Majestie’s Letters
Pattents under the great Seale of England bearing date the third
day of January in the yeare one thousand six hundred sixty and
six and by his instructions under his privy signett bearing date
the fourth day of February in ye said year enabling me to grant
and confirm estates in His Majestie’s behalfe in the said Caribee
Islands. I the said William Lord Willoughby for divers good and
lawful considerations Have given granted remised released and
confirmed and doe by these Presents give grant release remise and
confirme unto Coll Phillip Warner his Heires and Assignes for
Ever all ye right title interest or demand which his said
Majestie now hath or heretofore had to a certaine plantation or
parcell of land situate laying and being ye Island Antigua
aforesaid commonly called and known by the name of the Savanna
The Westward part of which is bounded upon ye lands of _Thomas
Compton_ in Falmouth Division and part of ye lands called
Picadilla the North East thereof in part bounded with ye . . . .
of _George Mould_ the land of _William Phillips_ ye lands of
_John Andrews_ and ye land of _Phillip Lenird_ and part wth ye
sea. The Southward part thereof is bounded by a line drawn from
the head of English Harbor Creeke through the Valley towards
Crosse Cove in falmo harbor and from ye head of ye aforesaid
Creeke two hundred foot or forty geometricall paces from ye high
water marke observing ye turnings and windings of English Harbor
to ye Southermost end of the Sandy Bay at ye mouth of the said
Harbor, and part with ye sea The Eastermost part wholly bounded
wth ye sea side. Together withall and singular the Houses
Edifices, Buildings Timber, Timber trees, Woods, Underwoods,
Waters, Water-courses, Rights, Members Jurisdictions, Wayes,
Easemts Proffits, Priviledges, Commodities, Hereditaments, and
Appurtenances whatsoever to ye same belonging or any wayes
apertaining To Have and to Hold the said Plantation or parcell of
land wth all and singular ye appurtenances to him ye said Coll
Phillip Warner his Heires and Assignes and to ye only use
benefitt and behoaf of him ye said Phillip Warner his heires and
Assignes in Free . . . . Yielding and paying therefore yearly for
ever unto His Majestie his heires and Successors one Eare of
Indian Corne att or upon ye feast of ye Birth of our Lord Christ
in full satisfaction of all rents and services for ever. In
Witness whereof, I have hereunto sett my hand and caused His
Majestie’s Seale appointed for Barbados and ye rest of the
Caribee Islands to be affixed the Eleventh day of Aprill in the
twentieth yeare of ye Reigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles the
Second King of England Scotland France and Ireland Defender of ye
Faith Anno que Domini One thousand Six hundred Sixty Eight.


  _Copy of the Grant of Land to Col. Philip Warner, restored to
  him after his acquittal upon the charge of murdering his
  half-brother, the Indian Warner, in_ 1676.

To all Xion People to whom these presents shall come William
Stapleton Capn Genl over all His Majties Leeward Islands in
America Sendeth Greetinge Know ye that I William Stapleton Capn
Gen as aforesaid in pursuance of His moste Excellent Majties
Charles the Second his Commission to me directed Bareing date the
tenth day of February and by virtue of an article in ye same
Impowering me to Sell Lett and dispose of all such lands
tenements and Hereditaments in and upon any or either ye said
Islands which shall fall or by Law Ellapse or otherwise become
due or belonging unto our Said Soveraigne Lord ye King and the
same or any part of Pall thereof from time to time to dispose of
under such moderate quitt Rents acknowledgements or securities to
be reserved to His Majestie his Heires and Successors by mee
shall bee deemed meete and convenient. And further by one other
Article in his Majties said Commission I am fully Impowered and
authorized by his said Majtie to grant Letters and Charters of
Incorporasion to all Citties, Townes, Boroughs and other places
wthn any or either ye said Islands or plantations respectively
wth all liberties, franchises, and priviledges requisite and
usually granted to any such wthn the kingdom of England which
said grants charters or priviledges soe by me granted and ——————
His Majties great Scale appointed for his said Leeward Islands,
and beinge duly Entered inrold and recorded shall be good and
effectuall in Law against any Pson, Power or Authoritie what so
ever. Know ye therefore that I the said William Stapleton Capn
Genl &ca by virtue of my said Commission and ye severall Powers
to mee therein given for and in ye behalfe of our Soueraigne Lord
ye King, for divers good and lawfull causes and considerations
hereinafter in the Psents mentioned and expressed and forasmuch
as Coll Phillip Warner of the Island of Antigua stands possessed
of a certain freehold and plantation or Pall of land in and upon
ye said Island of Antigua commonly call’d or known by the name of
the Savanna by virtue of a grant and Pattent had and obtained by
the said Coll Phillip Warner from and under the hand of William
Lord Willoughby of Parham late Capn Genl and Governor in Chiefe
of Barbadose and the rest of the Leeward Islands and sealed wth
the greate Seale then appointed by his Majtie for the said
Islands bearing date the 11th day of April 1668. I have at the
speciall instance and request of him ye said Coll Phillip Warner
Given granted released remised and confirmed as I doe by these
Psents give grant release remise and confirme unto the said Coll
Phillip Warner his heires and assignes for ever the said
Plantation and freehold under the name and title of the Manor of
_fframingham_ and doe by virtue of this my Pattent invest him the
said Coll Phillip Warner his Heires and Assignes for ever in
Right Title and Interest of the said Plantation in a Mannor and
Royaltie Lyinge wthn the Limits and bounds hereinafter mentioned
and expressed. That is to say the Westward part of the said land
being bounded wth the land of Mr _William Wainwright_ and Crowne
land in Falmouth Harbor To the North wth the land of Mr _Nathl
Monck_ and the land anciently call’d and known by name of
Piccadille Hills and to the North East wth the land late of
_George Mould_ the lands of _John Pinchin Richard Law_ and
_Richard Willis_ and part wth the sea. The East and South East
part thereof bounded wholie with ye low water marke upon ye
Severall Bayes, Poyntes, and Clifts at ye sea side the South and
South west part the said land and manner is alsoe bounded with
the Sea in English Harbour to the low water marke observeing the
severall turnings and windings of the said Harbor and Creeke
thereunto belongeing and from the Head of the Eastmost Creeke
through the Vallie to the adjacent round Hill next to Cobb’s
Crosse Cove. And from thence to the sea in Falmo Harbor, Together
with all ye Ponds Creekes Coves inlets waters, watercourses.
Houses, Edifices buildings Orchards lands meadows Leasowes
Pastures Commons Sugar Mills Timber and Timber Trees woods and
underwoods Advowsons reversions rents Securitties, wrecks, wafes,
Estrayes Royaltties Liberties Privileges Jurisdictions,
hereditaments Together wth all other Rights, Privileges, and
power by Law warranted or allowed to any Royaltie or Maner
whatsoever saving onely and excepted to His Majtie his Heires and
Successors all Mines and Mineralls of Gould and Silver which
shall ly or be within the said Manor or the lands thereunto
belongeinge or appertainge. To have and to Hold the said Manor
lands tenements and all the premises in _fee simple_ to him the
said Coll Phillip Warner his heires and Assignes for ever and of
and in every part or Pall thereof wth the appurtenances
Royallties, Jurisdictions and Privileges heretofore in these
Psents mentioned and expressed to bee and Inure and shall bee
deemed adjudged Esteemed reputed and taken to bee and Inure to
the onely use benefit and behoofe of the said Coll Phillip Warner
his heires and assignes for ever. Yieldinge and payeinge
therefore yearly for ever unto his Majtie his heires and
successors a full growne _Bore_ at or upon ye Feast and Birth of
our Lord Christ if lawfully demanded which payment shall be
accepted reputed and taken in full satisfaction and discharge of
all other rents services duties taxes or Impositions layed or to
be layed by any Law authortie Custome or Usage Whatsoever. In
Testimony whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and caused His
Majtie’s Great Seal prepared and appoynted for this and the rest
of the Leeward Islands to be hereunto affixed the 3rd _of
November_. In the one and Thirtieth Year of the Reigne of our
Soveraigne Lord Charles ye Second King of England Scotland France
and Ireland Defender of the Faith &c Anno Domi 1679.

                             No. 6.

  _A Remonstrance of the inhabitants of the island of Antigua why
  they soe very earnestly craved authority and commission from
  his Excellency, William Stapleton Captain General and Governor
  in chief, in and over all his Majesties Leward Cariba Islands
  in America. To kill and destroy the Indians inhabiting in ye
  Island of Dominica and likewise for ye craveing ayde from the
  neighbouring Islands under his Excellency’s command which was
  promised us._

It is to well knowne as well to ye inhabitants of this Island as
to ye other merchants and traders amongst us since its first
being inhabited by Christians, or very near that time that ye
said Indians have not ceased by their continual incursions and
very many horrid murders, ripping up women with child, burning of
houses, and carrying away into miserable captivity, their
children and others, allmost to ye utter ruine of this collony,
whilst Indian Warner of late going under the name of Thomas
Warner was a chief leader and actor amongst ye said Indians
untill the year of our Lord 1657 when some of ye inhabitants of
this Island with the assistance of Mountserrat and others went
against them although by their subtility it proved almost
ineffectual, yett in ye year 1660, ye said Indian Warner with
other Indians came to Collo Xpher Keynell[81] then governor of
this Island, to make peace which was then agreed unto and wee had
for some small tyme rest from their allmost continual Alaroms,
but they soon fell to their accustomed cruelltys by robing,
murdering and carrieing away others of the inhabitants, so that
we were again constrained to make war against them to our
exceeding charge and ye losse of our crops at which tyme we
requested Collo Phillip Warner to goe in pson against them in
hopes he might by faire means have brought ye said Indian Warner
to have been helpful to our party in finding out and persueing
those othere breakers of ye sd peace, but all our endeavours
proved fruit-lesse and procured us nothing more but fair
promises, but he would not go or appear against those that
himselfe would say were our enemies, but on the contrary would
give them notice of our arrival, although we spared not, at any
tyme, to furnish him and those he called his friends with what
necessaries they wanted.

Notwithstanding in the year 1666 they began again their old
villainies and outragious practices, not regarding that peace,
but rather lookeing on us as their tributaries, a barbarous
conclusion drawn from our kindnesses, Indian Warner being all
this while amongst them, and would never give us any notice of ye
designs against us, which drew us to conclude he was still
against us, by consent, if not in pson, for those by him
protected as his friends and nearest relations, were chief in
comitting many outtrages murders, rapes and burneings, by which
means we were wholly putt from labour, which if at any time wee
attempted to follow their poisoned arrows were soon in some of
our sides, which spake nothing but death, soon after ye said
Indian Warner was carried prisoner by the French to St.
Xphers[82] being however his friends and nearest relations still
persued their bloody practises against the poore Inhabitants of
this Island for as often as ye men engaged the Ffrench enemy, the
said Indians were comitting their murders, rapes and other
villanyss amongst ye women and children, and when the Ffrench had
subdued ye Island and disarmed our inhabitants and carried away
our negroes and what else they thought fitt, then did these
Indians prosecute all villanies imaginable against our naked
inhabitants haveing nothing but the mercy of God to protect
ourselves from their cruelties, at which time, we having
submitted to the Ffrench on their promise of safety from ye
barbarisme of the said Indians, ye said Indians came to the house
of Collo Cardine late Governr of this Island who cyvilly treated
them, but at their departure desired him in friendship to walk
with them to the sea-side, where they cruelly murdered him, and
those that were with him, cutting off Collo Cardine’s head,
broyled it and carried it to Dominica in triumph. But before
their departure returned to Collo Cardine’s house, and carried
away his wife children and others, with them into captivity where
some of them perished.

Neare to this same tyme they went to the house of Mr. Thomas
Taylor pretending friendshipp and by him they were kindly
entertained, but before they departed they murdered ye said
Taylor, Mr. Thomas Beadle minister, Mr. Robert Boyers, wounding
others with poisoned arrows to death and carried away Mrs Taylor
and children, Mrs. Chrew and children, Mrs Lynt[83] and children,
with many to tedious to relate, and in these and ye like bloody
practises they continued untill a peace was proclaimed betwixt
our more gracious king, ye Ffrench, and Dutch. All which bloody
cruelties were acted and done by ye Chiefs of Indian Warner’s
friends, without the least cause or provocation on our part.

And since ye peace made with them by the Lord William Willoughby,
although they have been kindly received and entertained by our
inhabitants out of respect to the said peace, yett they soon
begain their accustomed cruelties fore comeing to Parham Hill
plantation in agreeable manner were civilly and librally
entertained at their departure murdered several seamen that were
taking in tobacco, and planters that were carrying the same to ye
boats with out any manner of provocation.

Some of ye said Indians being soone after apprehended at
Mountserrat by our generall, who intended to have given them a
due reward for ye said murders, but such was our clemency towards
them, that if by any means wee could have brought them to live
peaceably by us, wee made our humble addresses unto our generall
to lett them goe, which we hardly obtained from his Excellency,
but no sooner were they loose but they comitted roberies upon ye
said Island.

Such hath always been their requitalls of any kindnesses or
civilities shewn them, and amongst these Indians were the freinds
and associates of the said Indian Warner and by him then
interceeded for alledging they were not the persons that had done
the said murders, although afterwards appeared that these whom he
a called his friends were the men that comitted ye said murder.

And to manifest the truth thereof, one of his nearest allies, in
the yeare 1674 came with other Indians to the plantation of Collo
Phillip Warner and killed severall Christians and carried away
sixteen negroes, and one Christian child, whom they afterwards
cruelly murdered, and at the return of the said Indians from this
Island, Indian Warner mett them at Guardeloup and craved share of
the booty they had brought from Antigua, and afterwards some of
ye goods [_obliterated_] Collo Warner’s boyling house at their
being last there comitting of murders aforesaid were found in the
village belonging to Indian Warner in Dominica and were brought
back by some of Collo Warner’s servants.

Thus hath the said Indian Warner often dealt treacherously,
pretending freindshipp, but proving and absolute enemy, not only
to this Island, but to our whole nation, for himself declared
that he had a Ffrench comission, and said that he would rather
serve ye Spaniards then ye English and finding ourselves to be
neare our utter ruine by his fraud and treachery, we were
constrained humbly to crave ayde of our captain generall to give
us his comission to make war against the said Indians, without
exception that we might labour by his just power to redeem
ourselves from those cruel practices which wee had long laine
under, which he was pleased to grant.

We then besought Collo Phillip Warner, our governor to goe in
person against them, which at our earnest request he was pleased
to undertake and with very great difficulty and hazard did doe
such service upon them which hath procured our ease and rest in
some measure to this tyme, although not without continnall
watching and warding to our great charge and trouble, they still
threatening a bloody revenge upon this place.

And it is evident, had not Collo Warner’s party beene quick in
giving the first blow, upon those our bloody enemies, he and
those with him had received the same measure from our pretended
freinds but utter enemies. Who had agreed with those hee called
our enemies to destroy Collo Warner and his party and to that end
had them at rediness at hand, but God Almighty prevented them,
not sufferinge him any longer to raigne in his barbarous
practices of which this Island might give a large acompt for
neare forty yeares past and whether ye said Indian Warner with
his associates received not a due recompense for their villanys
and barbarous practices wee appeal to God and all ye world.

  (Signed)             Richard Boraston.    Rowld. Williams.
  (Autographs)         Jonas Watts.         Paul Hicks.
                       Jacob Hill.          Jere. Watkins.
                       Saml. Irish.         Richd. Ayres.
                       Daniel Pellar.       John Cade.
                       Thomas Beck.         Will Thomas.
                       Franc. Carlisle.     John Mayer.
  1676                 Tho. Turner.         Samuel Jones.

May it please your honours,

The sense wee have of the sufferings of Collo Phillipe Warner,
our late governor by and for an action by which wee have received
soe many advantages, and which the prayers of our inhabitants
constrained him by ——— comission to undertake, hath highly
obliged us to suplicate your honours, on his behalfe. Not that we
doubt his being justly dealt with, and according to law, but to
give your honors to understand that it was not by any designe or
private concern of Collo Phillip Warner that carried on that warr
and that action wherein it is said Indian Warner fell. But it was
founded on the supplication of the inhabitants here, that for
many yeares enjoyed little rest from the incursions of those
Indians of Dominica and amongst them those of Warner’s family.
Some crying for their husbands slaine with poisoned arrows,
others for their children snatcht from them. Those and the such
like were the common complaints here. Until by their humble
addresse to our generall they obtained comission to goe under the
command of Collo Warner who was not easily wrought upon to
undertake it; but being highly importuned by all, he at length
complied and by that action we have since enjoyed much peace and
they have not dared to putt foot uppon our shoare, which we
wholly attribute to God’s mercy towards us, but that action as
the second cause. This wee humbly offer unto your honors fearing
you may not otherwise be given to understand, what was the first
cause that moved to that action, as will appear if all papers
relating thereunto may be perused. We have not more to request
from your honrs than to give your favourable constructions of the
matter humbly take leave and subscribe ourselves your most humble

                                       Richard Boraston, &c. &c.

Falmo July ye 25th, 1676.

To ye Honble. his Maties. justices of Oyer and terminer appointed
for the triall of Collo Phillip Warner in ye Island of Barbadoes

These humbly are sent.

It was not Col. Warner alone who was implicated in this affair,
although he plays the most prominent part. Many of the offenders
had their lands taken from them, until the issue of their trial
was known; but Col. Warner and Lieut. Ffrye, of their own free
will, delivered up their possessions, immediately upon their
being charged with the crime already narrated, as may be learnt
from the following passage extracted from an old record (speaking
of those persons who had been dispossessed of their lands):—

“Excepted the lands of Collo Phillip Warner at the ffig tree, and
at the Road being resigned up freely by himself. Also excepted
the lands of Lieut. John Ffrye, lying and beinge in the body of
this Island beinge resigned up freely by him.”


[81] Christopher Reynall.

[82] St. Christopher’s.

[83] Lynch.

                             No. 7.


The family of the Williams’ trace their colonial descent from

— Williams, Esq., who was supposed to have emigrated from England
under the auspices of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and, by
tradition, is said to have been the first Englishman who set foot
in the Island of Antigua. He planted and settled the family
estate at Old Road, and dying, left a son,

Rowland, colonel in the army, and the first white child born in
the colony, about the year 1632. He fulfilled for some time the
office of governor of Antigua, and in the attack upon the French,
to recover St Christopher’s, in 1690, he gallantly distinguished
himself, having under his command a body of eight hundred
Antiguan troops. He died in 1713, at the advanced age of eighty,
universally lamented by all who knew him, and was interred in the
parish church of Old Road, of which edifice he was the principal
founder. His will is now to be seen in the Prerogative Court of
Canterbury. He left issue, by his wife, two sons, Thomas, his
heir, and Samuel, student of Christ’s College, Oxford, of which
university he was a distinguished member. He is honourably
mentioned by Oldmixon, in his “British Empire.” He died at an
early age (probably in his father’s lifetime) s. p.

Thomas, son and heir of the above Col. Rowland Williams, was a
colonel in the army, of Old Road estate, Antigua, and of
Newlands, co. Surrey, m. in 1705, Mary, dau. of Edward Byam,
(then fulfilling the government of Antigua,) by his first wife,
Mary, dau. of Samuel Winthorpe, Esq., and granddau. of John
Winthorpe, first governor of New England, and of Groton Hall, co.
Suffolk. The likeness of this lady (Mary, the wife of Col. Thomas
Williams) was in possession of the late Rowland-E. Williams, at
Newlands. Col. Thomas Williams dying, left issue, by Mary, his
  i. Edward, son and heir.
  ii. Rowland, died s. p.
  iii. Samuel, entered at University College, Oxon, 3 November,
    1737, died s. p.
  iv. Sarah, died s. p.

Edward, son and heir, of Old Road. Antigua, and Newlands, in the
parish of Thames Ditton, co. Surrey, born 9 May, 1710, m. in
1747, Mary, dau. of — Bennet, of Penryth, co. Cumberland. He,
dying 6 April, 1784, was buried at Thames Ditton, aforesaid,
leaving issue by his wife,
  i. Rowland-Edward, son and heir.
  ii. Samuel, who possessed an estate in Hampshire, and dying s.
    p. in 1825, was buried at Lyndhurst, in that county.

Rowland-Edward, as eldest son, inherited the family estates of
Old Road, Antigua, and Newlands, co. Surrey, born 18 Dec 1784, m.
Mary, dau. of Robert Symes, of the Island of Jamaica, Esq., and
dying 28 Nov. 1826, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, left
issue two sons,

i. Rowland-Edward, son and heir.

ii. Samuel Williams, captain in the Royal Navy, and two daus.

Rowland-Edward Williams, as eldest son, possesses the family
estates in England and Antigua, the patrimonial domains of his
ancestors, who came in among the first settlers; member of her
Majesty’s privy council in that island, and late captain in the
10th regiment of Hussars, m. Mary-Anne, dau. of Sir Patrick Ross,
K.C.B., (then captain-general and governor-in-chief of the
Leeward Caribbee Islands,) who, dying at the early age of
thirty-two, left issue by him two sons, one of which only

                          Nos. 8 & 9.


One of the great ancestors of the Codrington family was John de
Codrington, grandson of Geoffrey Codrington, standard-bearer to
Henry V., 1415; he afterwards purchased the manor of Wapeley in
1455, living to the great age of 112; died in 1475. From this
source descends the family of Codrington connected with Antigua.

Geoffrey Codrington, of Codrington, co. Gloucester, left issue a
son, Robert, of the same place, and also of Sodbury. Robert had
issue three sons, Morvail, Humphry, and John.

John, m. and had issue, Christopher, and Edward.

Edward, m. and had a son,

Thomas, who m. and had a son,

Simon, who died in 1618, leaving by his wife, Anne, co-heiress of
Richard Seacole, of Didmarton, co. Gloucester, three sons,

i. John. ii. Giles. iii. Robert.

Robert Codrington, m. Anne, co-heiress of Richard Stubbs, and
left issue, Christopher, and John. John was of Didmarton, and
died in 1670.

Christopher, the eldest son, was a lieutenant-colonel in the
army, and settled in Barbados in the year 1649, after having
contended in the Royal cause; he married and had two sons,
Christopher, and John, the latter colonel of the Life-guards in
Barbados, of whom presently.

Christopher, the elder son, was governor of the Leeward Islands
in 1689, and died in 1698, leaving, by ———, his wife, two sons,
Christopher, the celebrated founder of All Souls’, Oxford, and
John, who died in the lifetime of his brother.

Christopher, the elder son, was the purchaser, from his cousin,
Samuel, of Doddington, in Gloucestershire, and was appointed to
succeed his father in the government of the Leeward Islands, in
1698. Among his great possessions in the West Indies, he had an
estate called “Betty’s Hope,” in Antigua, from whence, 22 Feb.
1702, was dated his will, making such munificent bequests for the
foundation of a college in Barbados, and to All Souls’ College,
Oxford, which is thus described in a contemporary work, among the
remarkable events of the year 1710:— “About the same time (21
July, 1710) came advice from the Leeward Islands of the death of
Col. Christopher Codrington, for some time captain-general of
those Islands. He left the bulk of his estate to his
cousin-german, Col. William Codrington, of Barbados, (and also of
Antigua,) which is reckoned to amount to 40,000l. and upwards. He
most generously bequeathed 20,000l. to the Society for
Propagating the Faith in that part of the world; and having for
many years been Fellow of All Souls’, Oxford, gave that college
10,000l., as also his noble library, valued at 6000l. more. He
ordered his body to be buried there, and allowed only 20l. for a
gravestone upon it, but left 1500l. for erecting a monument for
his father in _Westminster Abbey_.” And to his remaining estates,
his cousin, Col. William Codrington succeeded accordingly. He was
a Member of the Council of the Island of Antigua, and son of Col.
John Codrington, of the Life-guards, Barbados, by his wife, the
dau. of Col. Bates, of the same island. Col. William Codrington
is spoken of in very high terms by “Oldmixon,” in his “British
Empire in America,” _as one of the two men of the best heads and
best fortunes in British America_, (Col. Edward Byam, as already
mentioned, being the other,) and was very deservedly created a
Baronet, 21 April, 1721. He died 17 Dec. 1738, leaving by his
wife, Elizabeth, dau. of William Bethel, of Swindon, co. York,
Esq., four sons,
  i. William, second Bart., who succeeded him, and of whom
  ii. John-Archibald, died s. p. in 1759.
  iii. Christopher, m., and died s. p. in 1797.
  iv. Edward.

To John Archibald he bequeathed his Barbados estates. To
Christopher he bequeathed an estate called “Rooms’s,” in Antigua.
To Edward the Folly estate in that island, (now modernized into
“Bath Lodge,”) and comprising “Betty’s Hope,” the “Cotton
Estate,” and the “Cables,” all in the Island of Antigua, and the
entire Island of Barbuda, in the general bequest to his eldest
son and successor.

Sir William, second Bart., M.P. for Minehead, co. Somerset, dying
11 March, 1792, left, by Anne, his wife, the dau. of — Acton,
Esq., a son and heir of his own name—viz.,

Sir William, third Bart., who died in France in 1816, whereupon
his cousin,

Christopher-Bethel Codrington, of Dodington Park, co. Gloucester,
assumed the title, asserting his cousin to have died in France,
without lawful issue. He was the son of Edward, by his wife,
Rebecca Le Sturgeon, and grandson of Sir William, the first
Bart., the son of Col. John Codrington, Treasurer of Barbados, by
his wife, the dau. of Col. Bates, of the same island, as already
mentioned. Besides Christopher-Bethel, of Dodington Park, Edward
was the father of Sir Edward Codrington, the hero of Navarino,
G.C.B., K.S.L., K.S.G., and Rear-Admiral of the Blue; and also of
Caroline, the wife of Joseph-Lyons Walrond, of Walrond’s and
Lyon’s Estates, in Antigua, and of Dulford House, co. Devon, and
by whom she has, Bethel Walrond, Esq., formerly M.P. for Sudbury,
who m. in 1829, Lady Janet Erskine, dau. of the Earl of Rosslyn.
Sir Christopher-Bethel, of Dodington Park, aforesaid, m. 15 Aug.
1796, the Hon. Carolina-Georgiana-Harriott Foley, dau. of Thomas,
second Lord Foley, (by Harriott, dau. of William, second Earl of
Harrington, by Caroline Fitzroy, dau. of Charles, second Duke of
Grafton, K.G.,) and by her had, (among other children,)

Sir William-Christopher, the present Bart., born 12 March, 1805,
and m. Lady Georgiana Somerset, dau. of his Grace the present
Duke of Beaufort.

It may be right to observe, that the title is disputed by his
cousin, William-Raimond Codrington, who alleges himself to be the
legitimate son of William, the third Bart., but this is a
litigation into which we shall not enter.

                            No. 10.


The family of the Mathews originally came from Glamorganshire,
(where they were one with the Mathews, Earls of Llandaff,)
emigrated to the West Indies, from Cornwall, in the Heraldic
Visitation for which county, in 1622, they are mentioned. The
lineal descent of the present branch of the family, from the
first settler of the name, may be traced in the following manner—

Abednego Mathew, of Pennetenny and St. Kew, co. Cornwall, born in
1629, was a colonel in the army, and emigrating to the West
Indies, obtained grants of land, first in Antigua, and afterwards
in St Christopher’s, of which island he became governor, through
the interest (it is supposed) of his second cousin, George, Duke
of Albemarle, and Sir Richard Grenville, and which situation he
honourably filled until his death, 18 April, 1681. He m. a Miss
Sparrow, a West Indian heiress, by whom he left issue two sons,
  i. Charles, colonel in the army, m. Miss Dashwood. His arms,
    impaled with those of Dashwood, are given in a General Atlas,
    published in 1721, to which work he was a subscriber.
  ii. William, Knt.

Sir William Mathew was one of the brightest luminaries the West
Indies produced: a brave soldier—an accomplished gentleman—a true
friend—and a good governor. He was colonel of Monk’s own
regiment, the Coldstream-guards, and highly distinguished himself
by his gallant bearing and true martial glory, at the siege of
Namur, Neerwinden, &c., under William III. In 1702, he was
nominated brigadier-general of her Majesty’s Guards; and in 1704,
appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief of the Leeward
Caribbee Islands, and sailing from England at the beginning of
June, in a squadron consisting of five men-of-war, and six
transports, arrived at Antigua, the seat of his government, 14
July, 1704, where he died 4th Dec following. Sir William Mathew
m. Katharine, Baroness Van Leempat, an heiress of the celebrated
family of that name in Holland, and who accompanied Mary, Queen
of William III., to England as one of the maids of honour. The
nuptials were celebrated at Kingston, co. Surrey. The Baroness
accompanied her husband to the West Indies, where she surviving
him nineteen years, died at St Christopher’s, 26 March, 1723. Sir
William left issue by his lady,

i. Abednego. ii. Edward. iii. William, of whom hereafter. i.
Susan. ii. Louisa.

William (third son of Sir William Mathew) was another
distinguished officer in her Majesty’s service,
brigadier-general, and colonel in the Coldstream-guards, and
served as second in command under Lord Peterborough, in the
Peninsular wars. General Mathew acted as lieut.-governor of the
Leeward Islands in 1730; and 13 Sept. 1752, was appointed
captain-general, and commander-in-chief. He m. 1st, Anne, dau. of
General Thomas Hill, Governor of Nevis, who died s. p.; and
2ndly, ——, dau. of the Hon. Daniel Smith, President, and sometime
governor of Nevis, a great heiress, possessing estates in St.
Kitts, Nevis, and Antigua, by whom he had issue four sons,
  i. William, died young.
  ii. Daniel, of Antigua, and Felix Hall, co. Essex, Esq.,
    sometime high-sheriff for that co. He m. at Antigua, 10 May,
    1750, Mary, dau. of George Byam, and grandson of Governor
    Edward Byam, by whom he had issue,
    1. Daniel-Byam, of Felix Hall, and Antigua, m. Elizabeth,
      dau. of Sir Edward Deering, Bart., (by whom issue.)
    2. George, m. Euphemia, dau. of John Hamilton, Esq., by whom
      he had issue a son, George, captain in the
      Coldstream-guards, and late M.P. for Shaftesbury, m. in
      1835, the dau. and heir of the celebrated antiquary, Sir
      Richard-Colt Hoare, Bart., and has issue a son, born 5
      March, 1839.
    1. Mary, m. to James, Lord Gambier, K.C.B., admiral.
    2. Jane, m. to Samuel Gambier, commissioner in the navy.
    3. Elizabeth, m. in 1779, to Robert-Monckton Arundel,
      Viscount Galway, by whom, among other issue, she had
      William-George, the present viscount, born in 1782.
  iii. Edward, major-general in the army, and governor of
    Grenada, and sometime equerry to the Queen’s household, m. 31
    March, 1743; Lady Jane Bertie, dau. of the third Duke of
    Ancaster,[84] and by her (who died 21 July, 1793) had issue,
    1. Mathew, born 11 Sept. 1762, 2. Jane, m. 30 Aug. 1776,
    Thomas Maitland, of Herts, Esq.
  iv. Abednego, m. ——, and had issue two daus., the second of
    which, Mary-Buckly, m. Hugh, Viscount Carlton.


[84] The three only daus. of this third Duke of Ancaster m. West
Indians: Lady Mary-Bertie, the eldest, was united to Samuel
Greathead, Esq. of Guy’s Cliff, and M.P. for Coventry, and died
13 May, 1774; Albemia, the second dau. of his Grace, m. Frances
Beckford, Esq., and died 12 Feb. 1754; and Jane, (as already
seen,) m. Major-Gen. Edward Mathew, and had issue a son,
Brownlow-Bertie Mathew, who assumed the name and arms of Bertie,
in accordance with the will of his maternal uncle, Brownlow, last
Duke of Ancaster, and Marquess of Lindsey.

                            No. 11.

  _List of the Members of the House of Assembly at the time of
  the death of Governor Parke, copied from the Original Returns._

                         Dr. Daniel Mackinnon.
                          Mr. Edward Chester.
  Returns made by John    Col. John Gamble.
  Gamble, Esq.            Mr. William Granodle. St. John’s Town.
  By Richard Oliver,     Col. Thomas Williams.
  Esq.                    Major John Tomlinson. St. John’s Division.
                         Captain John Pigott.   New North Sound
  By Edward Byam, Esq.    Captain John Painter. Division.
                         Mr. Jacob Morgan       Dickenson Bay
  By S. Watkins, Esq.     Samuel Watkins, Esq.  Division.
                         Richard Cockran, Esq.
  By Charles Lloyd, Esq.  Charles Lloyd.        Nonsuch Division.
  By Thomas Osterman,    Col. John Ffrye.       Old Road and Bermudian
  Esq.                    Captain John Roe.     Valley Div.
  By John Haddon, Esq.   Mr. Andrew Murry.      Five Islands.
                         Mr. John Elliot.
  By John Kerr, Esq.      John Kerr, jun.       Belfast.
                         Edward Warner, Esq.    Falmouth and
  By John Horsford, Esq.  Isaac Horsford, Esq.  Rendezvous Bay.
  By Nathaniel Crump,    Mr. Samuel Phillips.   Old North Sound
  Esq.                    Nathaniel Crump.      Division.
                         Mr. Baptist Looby.     Willoughby Bay
  By G. Lucas, Esq.       G. Lucas.             Division.
  By Francis Rogers,     Mr. Francis Carlisle.
  Esq.                    Mr. William Hamilton. Popeshead Division.

                            No. 12.


It may not be uninteresting to some of my readers to peruse a
copy of the will of that unhappy man, Governor Parke: it is here
inserted. It is worthy of notice, that anxious as Col. Parke was
to perpetuate his name, it has become utterly extinct. The latter
sentence of his will was written upon the morning of the very day
in which he met his fate:—

“In the name of God, Amen. I, Daniel Parke, Capt.-Gen. and Chief
Governor, &c., of all the Leeward Islands, make this, my last
Will and Testament, in manner following: (Imprimis, I bequeath my
soul to Almighty God.) I give all my estate in these islands,
both land and houses, negroes, debts, and so forth, to Thos.
Long, Esq. and Mister Ceasar Rodney, for the use of Mistress Lucy
Chester, being the daughter of Mistress Katharine Chester,[85]
though she is not yet christened, and if her mother thinks fit to
call her after any other name, I still doe bequeath all my estate
in the four islands of my government to her; but in case she dies
before she attains the age of twenty-one years, then I bequeath
the same to her mother, Mistress Katharine Chester, that it shall
be and remain in the hands of my loving friends, Collonel Thos.
Long and Mister Ceasar Rodney, the produce of the same to be paid
into her own hands, but to no other person whatsoever, and after
the decease of the said Mistress Katharine Chester, then I
bequeath the same to my godson, Julius Ceasar Parke, and his
heirs for ever, but in case the said youngest daughter of the
said Mistress Katharine Chester lives to marry and have children,
I give the whole to her eldest son, and the heirs male of his
body, and for the want of such heirs, to her second son’s son,
and the heirs of his body, and for want of such, to her next, and
so on to her heir, provided still, he that heirs itt, calls
himself by the name of Parke; and my will is, that the said
youngest daughter of Mistress Katharine Chester alter her name,
and that she calls herself by the name of Parke, and that
whosoever shall marry her, calls himself by the name of Parke,
and that she and the heirs of her body, themselves by the name of
Parke, and use my coat of arms which is yet of my family of the
county of Essex, but in case she refuses, or her heirs, to call
themselves by the name of Parke, then my will is, that all my
estate, both real and personal, go to my godson, Julius Ceasar
Parke, to him and the heirs of his body for ever, and for want of
such heirs, to the heirs of my daughter Francis Curtis, and for
want of such heirs, to the heirs of the body of my daughter Lucy
Bird, always provided whoever shall enjoy this my estate, shall
call themselves by the names of Parke.

“Item, I give to my daughter Francis Curtis, all my estate, both
real and personal, either in Virginia or England, and the heirs
of her body, provided they shall call themselves by the name of
Parke, and for want of such heirs, to the heirs of the body of my
daughter Lucy Bird, and for want of such heirs, to the heirs of
the body of the youngest daughter, now living, of Mistress
Katharine Chester, and for want of such heirs, to the heirs of
the body of Julius Ceasar Parke, provided still, that whoever has
this my estate shall call themselves by the name of Parke, and in
case of failure of heirs, or that they refuse to call themselves
by the name of Parke, then my Will is, that my estate go to the
poor of the parish of White Church, in Hampshire, but my Will is,
that my daughter Francis Curtis pay out of my estate in Hampshire
and Virginia, the following legacies and all my debts, that is,
to my daughter Lucy Bird, one thousand pounds sterling; to my
godson Julius Ceasar Parke, fifty pounds sterling each year
during his life; to my three sisters and their children, fifty
pounds to buy them rings; and to my Executors, hereafter named in
England, each twenty pounds, and my Will is, that Thos. Long,
Esq. of this island, and Mister Ceasar Rodney, and Major Saml.
Byam, be my Executors in trust for the performance of what is to
be done with my estate in the Leeward Islands; and that Micajah
Perry, Esq., Mister Thomas Laws, and Mr. Richard Perry, of
London, merchant, be Executors in trust for the performance of
what is to be done in England and Virginia, and I doe hereby
Revoke all former Wills, Declaring this to be my last Will and
Testament, being writ with all my owne hand, signed and sealed in
St John’s, in Antigua, the Twenty-ninth day of January, in the
year of our Lord, One thousand seven hundred nine and ten.

“Sealed, published, and Declared to be his Will and Testament,

Daniel Parke.

“In the presence of us,
“Herbert Pember,
“John Birmingham,
“William Martin.

“December the seventh. One thousand seven hundred and ten, I doe
appoint in the room of Collonel Thos. Long, deceased, Mister
Abraham Redwood to be one of my Executors in trust, to see this
my Will performed.

“Daniel Parke.

“By the Honourable Walter Hamilton, Esq., Lieut-Gen. and
Commander-in-Chief in and over all her Majesty’s Leeward Charibbe
Islands in America, and ordering of the same for the time being,
December twentieth, One thousand seven hundred and ten.

“Then Hubert Pember, of the said island, Esq., and William
Martin, of the town of St. John’s, vintner, personally came and
appeared before me, and made oath on the Holy Evangelists of
Almighty God, that they were present, and did see his late
Excellency Daniel Parke, Esq., late Capt. Gen. and
Governor-in-Chief of the Leeward Islands, sign, seal, publish,
and declare the within instrument of writing, as and for his last
Will and Testament, and were subscribing witnesses to the same,
and that the said Daniel Parke was then of perfect mind, memory,
and understanding, to the best of their judgment and knowledge.

“Sworn before me the day and year above written,

“Walter Hamilton. “Robt. Pember.
“Wm. Martin.”


[85] Wife of Edward Chester, Esq.

                            No. 13.


This Dr. Mackinnon (mentioned page 81, vol. 1,) was the second
son of Lacklin More Mac’kinnon, chieftain of the powerful
Highland clan of the Mac’Kinnons. He was the founder of the
Mackinnon family in Antigua; and as his estates in that island
are still in the hands of his representative, Wm. Alex.
Mackinnon, Esq., a short account of that gentleman’s lineal
descent, from the celebrated Dr. Mackinnon, may not prove


Dr. Daniel Mackinnon, of Dickenson’s Bay, Antigua, member of the
legislature in that island, representing the town of St. John’s
in the assembly convened 22 May, 1710, and one of the most
influential men of his day, m. Alice, dau. of William Thomas,
Esq. of Antigua, and ancestor of the present Sir George Thomas,
Bart., by whom he had issue,
  i. William, of whom hereafter.
  ii. Charles, m. the dau. of —— Cunningham, Esq., of St.
    Christopher’s, by whom he had issue.
  iii. Elizabeth, m. at St. John’s, Antigua, 28 April, 1708, 1st,
    Francis Carlisle, Esq. of Antigua, the second of the name in
    that island, by whom she had a dau., Alice, who m. Ralph
    Payne, Esq. of St. Christopher’s, (nephew of Sir Charles
    Payne, created a baronet in 1737,) and who, on her decease,
    m. 2ndly, Margaret Galway, and by her had Admiral John Payne,
    and Gen. Sir William Payne, who m. Lady Harriet Quin, dau. of
    the Earl of Dunraven, and who, in 1814, took the name of
    Galway. He was succeeded by his son, the present Baronet in
    1831.) But by Alice Carlisle, the first wife of the aforesaid
    Ralph Payne, he had Sir Ralph Payne, K.B., late Lord
    Lavington, of whom a more ample detail will be found in
    another place (vide page 136, and Appendix No. 15.) Elizabeth
    (the dau. of Dr. Daniel Mackinnon above mentioned) m. 2ndly,
    at a very advanced age, John Gray, of Antigua, Esq.

i. William Mackinnon, son and heir, succeeded his father, Daniel
Mackinnon, born in 1697, died 8 Oct. 1767, and was buried in
Abbey Church, Bath, where there is a monument erected to his
memory, m. Charity, second dau. of William Yeamans, of Mill Hill,
Antigua, by whom he left issue,
  i. William, son and heir, of whom hereafter.
  ii. Elizabeth, m. Thomas Fraser, Esq., M.D., of Antigua, by
    whom she had, 1. William-Mackinnon Fraser, of London and of
    Bath; 2. Jane, m. to Charles Grant, Esq., chairman of the
    Hon. East India Company, by whom she had the present Lord
    Glenelg; 3. Charity, m. to William Chambers, Esq. M.D., by
    whom she was the mother of the celebrated physician of the
    same name now living. To revert to the son,

i. William Mackinnon, (the son of William, by his wife, Charity
Yeamans,) who m. Dorothy, the dau. of Henry Vernon, Esq., of an
ancient family of that name, in Staffordshire, and had issue,
  i. William, of whom presently.
  ii. Daniel, Esq., barrister-at-law, who m. Rachel, dau. of
    Thomas Eliot, Esq., and had issue.
  iii. Henry, major-general in the army, who was slain at
    Badajos, Spain, by the explosion of a mine, leaving, by
    Catharine, his wife, dau. of Sir John Call, Bart., (since
    re-married to A. R. Prior, Esq.,) 1. George, a colonel in the
    army, and of the Coldstream Regt. of Guards, and 2. Donald,
    captain in — Regt. of Infantry.

i. William, the eldest son, m. Harriott, the dau. of Francis
Ffrye, of Bermudian Valley, Antigua, Esq., by whom he had,
  i. William-Alexander, now a most able and useful M.P.,
    representing Lymington, in Hampshire, m. to Emma, dau. of
    Joseph Palmer, Esq.
  ii. Daniel, colonel in the Coldstream regt. of Guards.
  iii. Harriott, the wife of the Rev. Dr. Molesworth, rector of
    Rochdale, in Lancashire.

                            No. 14.


“_His Excellency and Council to the Gentlemen of the Assembly,_


“I think fit to lay before you a remonstrance I have received
from the justices who have examined into the intended
insurrection of the negroes. I could not forbear remarking to
this board the grateful sense I have of this great service, and
have found here every member as moved as myself. I cannot doubt
but the Assembly will give a _public testimony_ of their
satisfaction and acknowledgment to the gentlemen, from whose
wisdom, public zeal, and indefatigable care, we found a crime of
the deepest die, and of universal danger, and the public safety
secured by the most criminal having been brought to justice.

                          “By command,

                                        “De la Court Walsh, &c.”


         “_Members of the Assembly to his Excellency._

“We are extremely sensible of the zeal and integrity with which
the magistrates have acted, in endeavouring to discover and
punish the principal offenders in the insurrection intended by
the slaves of this island, as well as of the prudence and temper
with which they have proceeded in this matter; and, therefore, we
shall not be wanting on our part, to testify our acknowledgment
for the same, by appointing some members of our house to return
these our thanks upon that account.

                                         “Thos. Kerby, Speaker.”


The following relates to the execution of “Frank,” one of the
conspirators of the Ravine:—


“I sent you a report of the justices of the conspiracies, dated
15th instant, upon which I observed to you, that the execution of
the negro “Frank,” belonging to E. Chester, Esq., had been
suspended from Friday the 17th, to this 20th of December, upon
some information and application to the justices; which, having
been considered fully by them, he is, accordingly, this day to
suffer the aforesaid sentence of death, by being burnt in Otto’s

                                                “By command, &c.

“Council Chamber, 20th Dec. 1736.”


In the thirtieth chapter of this work, will be found another
letter from a white inhabitant of Antigua, to a friend in
England, giving a fuller account of the mode of execution
practised upon some of the unfortunate actors in this melancholy
affair. The military strength of Antigua at this period consisted
of “Monk’s Hill,” mounted with thirty guns; a fort, known as
“Great Fort,” at the entrance of St. John’s Harbour, mounted with
fourteen guns; and seven other batteries, with twenty-six pieces
of cannon.

                            No. 15.


The family of Sir George Thomas is certainly of Welsh extraction,
and, by tradition, came from Glamorganshire, and still possess
considerable property in Antigua. The first of the name in the
island was

William Thomas, of Bristol, Esq., who afterwards emigrating to
Antigua, became a member of the legislature of that island, and
in such capacity signed the “Remonstrance,” drawn up in the case
of Col. Philip Warner, in 1676. He married, at St. Augustine’s,
Bristol, 2 Nov. 1665, Lydia Tomlinson, by whom he had issue two
sons and two daus.—viz.,
  i. William, son and heir, member of her majesty’s council in
    Antigua, died in or about 1717, leaving his nephew, George
    Thomas, his heir.
  ii. George, (second son of William Thomas,) col. in the army,
    m. — Winthorpe, dau. of Samuel Winthorpe, of Antigua, Esq.,
    and sister of the first wife of Edward Byam. Col. Thomas
    dying 13 May, 1707, left issue two sons and one dau.—viz.,
    1. George, first Bart., of whom hereafter.
    2. William, who m. — Yeamans, dau. of John Yeamans, of Mill
      Hill, Antigua, Esq., and dying, left issue,
      William, who was killed in a duel, and left his estate to
        his sister.
      Elizabeth, who m. Frances Farley, Esq., and dying s. p.,
        left her estate to her husband.
    3. Elizabeth, m. William Dunbar, of Dickenson’s Bay, Antigua,
  iii. Lydia, who m. 1st, the Hon. Samuel Martin, and 2ndly,
    Governor Byam.
  iv. Alice, m. to Dr. Daniel Mackinnon, of Antigua, the first
    settler of the name in that island.

Sir George Thomas, Bart., who inherited the estates of his uncle,
the Hon. William Thomas, was appointed governor of the Leeward
Islands, 25 Jan. 1752, and afterwards created a Baronet. He left
issue, by his wife, Lydia, dau. of John King, Esq. of Antigua,
  i. William, second Bart.
  i. Lydia, who m. John White, Esq. of Chichester, M.P., and
    whose granddau., Frances, m. Gen. Crosbie.
  ii. Margaret, m. to Arthur Freeman, Esq., by whom she had,
    among other issue, Inigo Freeman, of Ratten, near Eastbourne,
    Sussex, and who assumed the name of Thomas, m. 1st,
    Charlotte, dau. of Henry Peirce, Esq. of Bedale, co. York;
    and 2ndly, Frances, dau. of Viscount Middleton, and has issue
    by both marriages.

Sir George Thomas dying at Upper Brook-street, London, 31 Dec.
1774, was succeeded by his eldest son,

Sir William, who was living at Pickitt’s Hill, co. Hants, in
1745, high-sheriff for Sussex in 1767, m. Margaret, only dau. and
heir of Walter Sydserfe, Esq. of Antigua, and Soho, London, and
had issue,
  i. Sir George, third Bart.
  i. Anne, m. in 1774, to Stephen Popham, Esq.
  ii. Elisabeth, m. to Andrew Lyon, of Edinburgh, Esq.
  iii. Maria, m. to General Popham.
  iv. Margaret, m. to William Roe, Esq.
  v. Lydia, m. to Alexander Adair, Esq.

Sir William died 16 Dec. 1779, and was succeeded by his eldest

Sir George, of Dale Park, co. Sussex, m. 1st, Jane-Louisa, dau.
of Alexander Salis, Esq. of Andelheim, Alsace, Switzerland, by
whom he had issue,
  Sir George-William-Lewis, fourth Bart.

Sir George (third Bart.) m. 2ndly, Sophia, dau. of Admiral John
Montague, who was living in 1843, s. p., and dying in 1816, was
succeeded by his son,

Sir George-William-Lewis, present Bart., born about 1768, m.
Elizabeth, dau. of Richard Welsh, Esq., by whom he has issue,
  i. George, died in 1820.
  ii. Montague. iii. William.
  i. Helen. ii. Sophia.
  iii. Louisa-Leonora, m. in 1841, to — Browne, Esq., 41st regt.
    at Weymouth.
  iv. Elizabeth.

                            No. 16.


The first of the Carlisle family of whom we find any record, was

Richard Carlisle, who m. Elizabeth, dau. of Richard Conyers, and
had issue,

Thomas Carlisle, who m. Anne, dau. of — Bussell, Esq. of co.
Somerset, and had, among other children,

Francis Carlisle, of Mells, in Somerset, and who was included in
the Heraldic Visitation of that county for the year 1623. He m. a
lady whose name is not on record, but who was alive in 1663, when
her son bequeathed her an annuity of 15l. for her life. This son
was a second

Francis Carlisle, of Wemden, and of Durleigh, near Bridgewater,
at the former of which places is a property still known by the
name of “Carlisle’s.” The first Francis Carlisle had another son,
viz., John Carlisle, prebendary of Comb, in the cathedral of
Wells, between 1661 and 1667, and who, on 7 June, 1664, proved
his brother Francis’ will in the Archdeacon’s Court at Taunton,
and in which will, mention is made of a third

Francis Carlisle, plainly the first settler of the name in
Antigua, young at the date of his father’s death, in 1664, but
who afterwards emigrated to Antigua, where he became a member of
the legislature in 1676, on 25 July of which year, in such
capacity, he signed a remonstrance in vindication of Col. Philip
Warner, inserted in another place, (vide p. 317.) His son,

Col. Francis Carlisle, was still alive in 1732, when we find him
named as executor to the will of Col. Edward Warner, the
representative, in this island, of Sir Thomas Warner, and the
owner of the Folly and Savannah estates. He (Col. Francis
Carlisle) m. at St John’s, Antigua, 28 April, 1708, Anne, dau. of
Daniel Mackinnon, Esq., and had an only dau. and heiress,

Alice Carlisle, who m. at St John’s, Antigua, 8 July, 1735, the
Hon. Ralph Payne, chief justice, and afterwards governor of St
Christopher’s, and by whom, who died 1762, she had (besides a
dau. Elizabeth, the wife of Drury Ottley, Esq., who died at his
house in Bryanstone-square, London, 22 April, 1822) a son,

Sir Ralph Payne, K.B., created Lord Lavington, who succeeded to
this estate on the death of his mother, at St Christopher’s, in
1760, at the time when a general sickness prevailed in that
island. Lord Lavington was born at Basseterre, in the parish of
St George, in the island of St. Christopher’s, 19 March, 1739,
and before his elevation to the peerage, in the imperial
parliament, he represented the several places of Shaftesbury,
Camelford, and Plympton. In 1771, he was made Knight of the Bath;
and in 1795, was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron
Lavington of Lavington. He m. at St George’s, Hanover-square, 1
Sept. 1767, Frances, Baroness Kolbel, one of the ladies who
accompanied her Majesty Queen Charlotte, on her leaving Germany,
as the bride elect of King George III. Lord Lavington died at
Antigua, 1 Aug. 1807, leaving to his lady his estates for her

                            No. 17.


William Crosby, brigadier-general, col. of the Royal Irish,
equerry to the Queen of George II., appointed governor of the
Leeward Islands, and afterwards of New York, in 1730,[86] m.
Grace, the sister of George Montague, Earl of Halifax, and dying
10 March, 1736, left issue by her a dau.,

Elizabeth, who m. 1st, Lord Augustus Fitzroy, second son of
Charles, second Duke of Grafton,[87] and 2ndly, James Jefferys.
She dying 21 Dec. 1788, left by her first husband a son,

Augustus-Charles Fitzroy, third Duke of Grafton, who m. 29 Jan.
1756, Anne Liddell, dau. and sole heir of Henry, Lord
Ravenscroft, by whom he had issue,
  i. George-Henry, fourth Duke of Grafton, who m. Charlotte, dau.
    of James, third Earl of Waldegrave, by whom he had a son,
    Henry Fitzroy, Earl of Euston, the present Duke of Grafton.
  ii. Charles, a general in the army, and colonel of the 48th
    Regiment of Foot, m. 20 June, 1795, Frances, dau. of Edward
    Millar Munday,[88] of Shepley, co. Derby, the issue of which
    marriage was a son,
    Sir Charles-Augustus Fitzroy, K.H., the present
      commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands, born 10 June,
      1796, m. Lady Mary Lennox, dau. of Charles, fourth Duke of
      Richmond, by which marriage he has issue.


[86] Philip Crosby, Esq., another descendant of this family, and
a distinguished admiral in the British navy, in 1792, m.
Elizabeth, dau. of William Gunthorpe, Esq. of Bugle Hall, co.
Southampton, and of Winthorpe, in the island of Antigua.

Lieut.-Gen. Henry Crosby, another of that family, died at Bath,
17 Jan. 1822, aged 79; m. Anne, dau. of the late Samuel Eliot,
Esq. of Belfast Division, in the island of Antigua.

[87] Henry, the father of this Charles, was the first Duke of
Grafton, so created 11 Sept. 1675. He was mortally wounded by a
shot, that broke two of his ribs, while heading a party in an
assault upon the city of Cork, 21 Sept. 1690, and of which he
died, 9 Oct. following. His son, Charles, (the second Duke of
Grafton,) had two sons, who dying in his lifetime, (the eldest,
George, Earl of Euston, s. p.,) he was succeeded in his title by
his grandson, the son of Lord Augustus Fitzroy, by his wife,
Elizabeth Crosby, of whose marriage mention is made in Oldmixon’s
“History of the British Empire,” vol. i. p. 260:—

“Judge Morris makes mention of Lord Augustus Fitzroy being at New
York, where was then a man-of-war, on board of which that lord
had a command, and while he was in this city, he took to wife a
dau. of the governor, (Brigadier-General Crosby,) an agreeable
young lady.” We need hardly repeat, this lady was the
great-grandmother of the present commander-in-chief. Sir C. A.

[88] William Munday, of Markinton, co. Derby, Esq., another
member of this family, m. Harriott-Georgiana, dau. of James
Frampton, of Moreton, co. Dorset, Esq., and granddau. of Phillis
Byam, an heiress of the island of Antigua.

                            No. 18.


The Willoughby family trace from a long line of noble ancestors,
the first of whom known in England was

Sir John de Willoughby, one of the followers of William, Duke of
Normandy, who, on the conquest of England, gave to him the
lordship from him called Willoughby, in Lincolnshire; and from
this Sir John, we pass to his descendant, in a direct line,

Sir William de Willoughby, who, the 54th of the reign of Henry
III., was signed with the cross, as the phrase then was, and
accompanied Prince Edward (afterwards King Edward I.) into the
Holy Land. He m. Alice, dau. of John, Lord Beke, of Eresby, and
had issue,

Sir Robert de Willoughby, who, the 4th of Henry II., inherited,
as next heir, the estates of Anthony Bec, bishop of Durham, and
was summoned to parliament, in three years afterwards, as Baron
Willoughby de Eresby. From this nobleman we pass to his
great-great-grandson, and lineal descendant,

William Willoughby, fifth Baron Willoughby de Eresby, who died in
1409, leaving, by Lucy, his first wife, dau. of Roger, Lord
Strange, two sons—viz.,
  i. Robert, sixth Baron Willoughby de Eresby, ancestor of the
    Willoughbys of Eresby.
  ii. Sir Thomas, a soldier of distinction, and one of the heroes
    of Agincourt. He m. Joan, the dau. and heir of Sir Richard
    FitzAlan, and was succeeded by his son,

Sir Robert, who, dying in his minority, was succeeded by his

Sir Christopher, who was made a Knight of the Bath, 6 July, 1483.
He m. Margaret, dau. of Sir William Jennet, and by her (among
other children) had,

Sir Christopher, knighted for his gallant conduct at the siege of
Tournay, temp. Henry VIII. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of Sir George
Talboys, and by her had,

Sir William, Knt., who was elevated to the peerage, by letters
patent, dated 16 Feb. 1547, in the dignity of Lord Willoughby of
Parham. His lordship having distinguished himself in the wars of
Henry VIII., was made lieutenant of Calais, 4th of Edward VI.,
and resided there the remainder of that reign. He m. Elizabeth,
the dau. and heir of Sir Thomas Heneage, by whom he had,

Charles, second Lord Willoughby of Parham, who espoused Lady
Margaret Clinton, dau. of Edward, first Earl of Lincoln, by whom
he had issue,

William, who died before his father, leaving issue, by Elizabeth,
his wife, dau. and heir of Sir Christopher Hilliard, a son,

William, third Lord Willoughby of Parham, who succeeded his
grandfather. This nobleman died in 1617, leaving issue, by his
wife, Lady Frances Manners, dau. of John, fourth Earl of Rutland,
three sons, Henry, Francis, and William. Henry was the fourth
lord, but dying in his infancy, his brother

Francis succeeded him, and became fifth Lord Willoughby of
Parham. This nobleman, on whose account, in the first and
principal degree, we have introduced the present lineage, married
Elizabeth, second dau. and co-heir of Edward Cicil, Visct.
Wimbledon, and had issue one son, William, who died young, and
three daughters,
  i. Diana, m. to Heneage, Earl of Winchilsea.
  ii. Frances, m. to William Brereton, Lord Brereton, of Laghlin,
    in Ireland; and
  iii. Elizabeth, m. to Roger Jones, Visct. Ranelagh.

This nobleman—viz., Francis, fifth Lord Willoughby—was one of the
most celebrated characters of his age, but whose fortune brought
him to Antigua, and the other Caribbee Islands, of which he
became one of the most distinguished and notable governors;
having under his command at one time, the whole archipelago of
which the British empire in those parts consist.

Those who would wish to be fully acquainted with the character
and conduct of this nobleman, must consult all the annals of the
eventful period in which he lived, comprising the entire epoch of
the civil wars, and which, from first to last, abound with
anecdotes and facts relating to his personal history. We find him
first mentioned in connexion with the siege of Newark, a place he
gallantly besieged and took, sword in hand, at twelve o’clock at
night; and also at the termination of the civil commotions, as
state prisoner in the Tower of London, for attempting (after his
return from the West India Islands, in 1652) to raise a rebellion
against the government of the Protector, Oliver Cromwell.

In 1649, when the English fleet revolted from the parliament and
the service of the Commonwealth, they chose this nobleman,
Francis Lord Willoughby, for their commander and admiral; a
capacity in which he attended upon his Majesty Charles II., then
in Holland. Pointing out to his Majesty the islands in the West
Indies which still remained faithful to his cause, and unsubdued,
and where had congregated a vast assemblage of gallant royalists—
the island of Barbados alone counting several thousands of them—
his Majesty proposed to him to give him a commission of governor
thereof, provided only he would go out and assume the command in
his own person; terms with which Lord F. Willoughby was readily
induced to comply—obtaining also a commission from the Earl of
Carlisle, to whom those islands had been previously granted. Thus
armed at all points, he arrived at the island of Barbados at the
beginning of the year 1650. The first act of his lordship’s
government, and of the ardent spirits there assembled and
associated with him, was, now that Charles I. had perished by the
fatal axe, to proclaim Charles II., his son, as his successor;—
this was done when, by the laws of the Commonwealth, it was
felony and death to acknowledge the Prince of Wales as king of
England, or rightful heir of any of the territories thereunto
belonging;—and Charles II. was proclaimed accordingly, on 7th
May, 1650. But the legislature of Barbados being at this time
engaged in some affairs of a very delicate nature, they wished to
bring them to a close before any new commander assumed the head
of the government; they therefore entreated his lordship to
suspend his authority for the space of three months, when, on his
return at the end of that period, they promised him all due
submission—an arrangement to which Lord Willoughby assenting, he
left Barbados, with some of his personal friends, (Major Byam in
the number,) and came to Antigua, where they again proclaimed
Charles II. as king of England and the territories thereto
belonging. This seems to be the first occasion of his visiting
the shores of this island; for at the end of the specified term
he returned to Barbados, where, at the expiration of little more
than another year, a fleet arrived for the reduction of that
colony, an account of which will be found in the annals of the
Byam family. (Vide page 40, vol. i.)

Lord Willoughby availing himself of the comprehensive nature of
the terms then and there obtained, went to England. After the
restoration of Charles II. to the throne of his ancestors, his
lordship renewed his pretensions to Antigua and other West India
colonies; and again obtaining a commission, dated 12th June,
1663, he shipped himself for those ports, and arrived at Barbados
in the August following. In another part of this work is given an
account of his loss off the Saint’s Island, near Guadaloupe, with
a large fleet under his command, destined for the recovery of St.
Christopher’s, recently taken by the French. On his plantations
at Surinam, his lordship expended no less than £26,000, a vast
sum in those days, equal to £150,000 according to the value of
money in our time; and these possessions (all lost by the
surrender of Surinam, according to the terms of the treaty of
Breda) his lordship, by his will, bequeathed to his nephew,
Lieut-Gen. Henry Willoughby; his Barbados property to his next
nephew, William; and his Antigua estates to his dau., Lady
Brereton, already mentioned. Of this possession of his lordship’s
in the island of Antigua, we find traces in the maps of the same,
as late as 1748, wherein on “Collins’s” estate, near Nonsuch
Harbour, is marked down, “My lord’s pond,” “My lord’s cove,”
evidently in allusion to his lordship’s former possessions, and
perhaps personal residence in the island. Lord Francis Willoughby
dying without male issue him surviving, his brother

William succeeded to his hereditary honours, and became sixth
Lord Willoughby of Parham, and obtaining letters patent for the
renewal of his brother Francis’s commission, dated 3 Jan. 1666-7,
he shipped himself for these colonies, where he arrived soon
afterwards. His sons Henry and William, acted conspicuous parts
in the West India islands, where, together with their father,
they found their grave, though no memorial of them now seems to
exist, nor, indeed, have the exact dates of their deaths been
ascertained; but their father, William, Lord Willoughby, by whom
the most ancient of the Antigua laws, as they now exist in the
printed statutes book, were signed, died at Barbados, on 10
April, 1673. To the circumstance of the considerable mortality in
this family (occurring in these islands) may fairly be traced the
speedy extinction of their hereditary honours, and thus enabling
a foot soldier (collaterally related to those who died in the
Western hemisphere) to claim and recover the ancient honours of
the Willoughby family; for Edward Willoughby, a private in the
confederate army, serving under the illustrious Duke of
Marlborough, perceiving the family honours vacant, and knowing
himself to be a cadet of the house, laid claim to them, and
succeeded in establishing his right to the same, though he did
not long enjoy them, dying in April, 1713, when his brother
Charles succeeded him. It would not be consistent with the plan
of this work to pursue the history of this family further than to
observe, that the title finally became extinct in 1779, in the
person of George Willoughby, the seventeenth Lord Willoughby of

The present Earl of Abingdon traces his descent from George,
seventh Lord Willoughby of Parham, (who succeeded [on the failure
of male issue] William, sixth Lord Willoughby of Parham,
capt.-gen. of the Leeward and Windward Caribbee Islands, and who
died 10 April, 1673,) in the following manner:—

Elizabeth, dau. and sole heir of George, seventh Lord Willoughby,
m. James Bertie, second son of James Bertie, second Earl of
Abingdon, (by his wife, Eleanor, dau. of Sir Henry Leigh,) and
had issue a son, who succeeded his grandfather as Willoughby,
third Earl of Abingdon, born in 1692, m. Anna-Maria, dau. of Sir
John Cullin, by whom he had issue, Willoughby, fourth Earl of
Abingdon, born in 1740, m. Charlotte, dau. and coheir of Sir
Peter Warren, K.G., and dying in 1799, was succeeded by his son,
Montague, fifth and present Earl of Abingdon, born in 1784, m.
Emily, dau. of Gen. Thomas Gage, by whom he has issue a son, Lord
Norreys, born in 1808, M.P. for co. of Oxford.

                            No. 19.


— Martin, colonel in the army. He emigrated to the West Indies,
and became proprietor of an estate at Surinam, at which colony,
soon after the Restoration, he swore to having been present at
Charing Cross, London, when Charles, Prince of Wales, was
proclaimed King, under the title of Charles II., and when his
proclamation was read, commanding all persons _then in office_ to
continue so until further notice. This gentleman is said to have
been, under the appellation of Sovereign, the chief magistrate of
Belfast It is supposed he died at Surinam, previous to the
removal of that colony to Antigua, according to the terms of the
treaty of Breda, in 1667, leaving, by ——, his wife, a son,

Samuel Martin, major in the army, speaker of the house of
assembly in Antigua, in 1689, during the administration of
Christopher Codrington, the elder. He m. 1st, 18 Aug. 1690, the
relict of Christopher Reynall, (who died 8 Aug. 1691, s. p.;) and
2ndly, 28 Jan. 1692, Lydia, dau. of the Hon. William Thomas, of
Antigua, by whom (who re-married Governor Edward Byam) he left
issue three sons,
  i. Samuel, son and heir, of whom hereafter.
  ii. Thomas, M.D., born in Antigua, died at Jamaica in 1747,
    leaving issue.
  iii. Josiah, president of the Council of Antigua, m. 1st, Mrs.
    Chester, and 2ndly, Mary, dau. of William Yeamans, of New
    York, by whom he left a numerous issue.

Major Samuel Martin being murdered 25 Dec. 1701, was buried at
St. John’s, Antigua, and was succeeded in his estates by his
eldest son,

Samuel, (above mentioned,) a minor at his father’s death, but
became afterwards colonel in the army, and speaker of the house
of assembly in Antigua, from about 1753 to 1763. He was possessed
of great virtues and eminent qualifications, and having insured
the goodwill of all his contemporaries, died in 1788, universally
lamented, at the advanced age of about 90 years, leaving by his
first wife, Frances, dau. of John Yeamans, Esq. of Mill Hill,
  i. Henrietta, wife of Col. Anstar FitzGerald, (of the Desmond
    family,) and who was ancestor of William Thomas FitzGerald,
    the poet, and John Fonblanque, the present Commissioner of
    Bankruptcies, and
  ii. Samuel, treasurer to the Princess of Wales, M.P. for
    Camelford and Hastings, and one of the joint-secretaries of
    the treasury. He is famous for the duel he fought with the
    celebrated Wilkes, who received a wound in the encounter.
    Samuel Martin died s. p.

And by his second wife, Sarah, dau. of Edward Wyke, of Monserrat,
Esq., Col. Martin had three sons,
  i. Henry, of whom hereafter.
  ii. Josiah, appointed governor of North Carolina, 8 Dec. 1770.
  iii. William-Byam, of White Knights, Reading, high-sheriff for
    the county of Berks, in 1787, died in 1816, leaving by his
    wife Charlotte, dau. of Col. Yorke, three sons—viz., 1.
    Samuel, lieut.-col. in the guards; killed in France, 13 Dec.
    1813; m. Elizabeth, dau. of Samuel Rolleston, Esq., by whom
    he left issue three sons and one dau.; 2. William-Byam,
    resident in Hyderabad, now of Hyde-park-corner-terrace; and
    3. Henry-Yorke-Byam, d. unm. in 1808.

Sir Henry, commissioner of the navy, M.P., born in 1733, created
a Baronet in 1791. He m. Eliza-Anne, dau. of Harding Parker,
Esq., by whom he had issue,
  i. Sir William-Henry, second Baronet.
  ii. Josiah, collector of the customs, Antigua.
  iii. Sir Byam, G.C.B., M.P., comptroller of the navy; m.
    Catherine, dau. of Commissioner Fanshawe, by whom he has
    issue, 1. Capt William-Fanshawe Martin, R.N.; 2. Capt
    Henry-Byam Martin, R.N., and a dau.
  iv. Judith, m. to John-Poll. Bastard, Esq., Devon.

Sir William-Henry, second Baronet, born in 1768, died in 1842,
leaving issue by his wife, Catherine, (to whom he was married 23
Jan. 1792,) dau. of Thomas Powell, Esq., a son and heir,

Sir Henry, the third and present Baronet, born in 1801, and
married to his first cousin, Catharine, the dau. of Sir Byam
Martin, G.C.B.

                            No. 20.


The lineage of the Freeman family may be traced from Arthur
Freeman, of Lincoln’s-inn-fields, London, and of Antigua, Esq.,
who espoused Dorothy, relict of George Symes, Esq. of Antigua,
(by which marriage the estates called “Freeman’s,” in Antigua,
now in possession of Inigo-Freeman Thomas, Esq., came into that
family,) and had issue a son, Thomas, who m. Rebecca, dau. of
Col. Wm. Byam, (_see_ Byam’s _Pedigree_,) and by her had,
  i. Arthur, of whom hereafter.
  ii. Thomas, m. Anne, dau. and co-heir of Col. John Wickham, of
    Old North Sound, in the Island of Antigua, and by which
    marriage he became possessed of the estate still known by the
    name of “Wickhams.” Dying, he left issue two sons, 1. Thomas,
    speaker of the house of assembly, Antigua, in 1790, m.
    Christiana, second dau. of Francis Ffry, of Bermudian Valley,
    Antigua, Esq., by whom (who died at Cheltenham, 23 Feb. 1808)
    he had a son, Thomas-Inigo-Wickham Freeman, Esq., a capt. in
    the army, and late of his Majesty’s 18th Hussars, and of
    Wickhams, in the island of Antigua, as lineal descendant of
    John Wickham aforesaid, (of the family of the celebrated
    William of Wickham, the founder of Winchester College, and
    New College, Oxford,) whose arms Capt. Freeman quarters with
    his own; and 2. Arthur, an accomplished scholar, and rector
    of St. Paul’s, Antigua, where he died in 1815.
  iii. Byam, m. Anne, dau. and co-heir of Thomas Watkins, Esq. of
    Popeshead, Antigua, by whom he had an only child, Harriet,
    the wife of Thomas Oliver, Esq. of Boston, in North America,
    who had issue two daus., Alice, late wife of Captain Haynes,
    R.N., and Emily, who m. — Elton, Esq.
  iv. Robert, v. Charles, both died unm.
  i. Elizabeth, m. to Richard Kirwan, Esq.
  ii. Rebecca, m. to Daniel Warner, Esq.
  iii. Mary, m. to — Phillis, Esq.
  iv. Charlotte, m. to General Sherington Talbot, (son of John
    Talbot, Bishop of Durham, and brother of Charles, Lord
    Talbot, lord chancellor of England, and ancestor of the now
    Earl Talbot,) by whom she had an only dau., born at Antigua
    during the raging of a hurricane, 28 July, 1751, and
    appropriately christened “Indiana;” m. at St George’s,
    Bloomsbury, 1773, to Louis-Peake Garland, Esq., by whom she
    had two sons, Nathaniel, and Peake Garland, Esqs., the former
    of Ensom, in Surrey, and the latter a barrister-at-law,
    recently deceased at Cheltenham.

Arthur Freeman (the eldest son of Thomas and Rebecca Freeman) m.
Margaret, dau. of Sir George Thomas, first Bart., and dying in
1780, left two sons and three daus., Inigo and George, who, in
conformity with the will of their maternal grandfather, assumed
the name of Thomas. (For Inigo-Freeman Thomas, _see_ Thomas’
_pedigree in this work_.) George, who was lieut.-col. in the 11th
Hussars, and proprietor of an estate at Popeshead, in Antigua,
died unm. in Nov. 1827.

                            THE END.

         T. C. Savill, Printer, 107, St. Martin’s Lane.

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